Tracking in the Educational System and Inequalities

  • The association between social origin and educational attainment has been repeatedly confirmed and studied in social science research. Much of the international comparative research to date has shown that countries differ in the extent of educational inequality. This research suggests that the institutional design of the education system can affect multiple dimensions of educational inequality, such as school performance and educational decisions. In addition to international comparative research, other research also suggests that institutional characteristics moderate the link between social origin and educational inequality. Thus, the institutional features of the education system provide opportunities for policy interventions to influence the relationship between social origin and educational inequality and to reduce educational inequalities. The literature examines and discusses various institutional characteristics of the education system for their respective effects on or associations to educational inequalities. In this respect, tracking is also an institutional characteristic that has been studied repeatedly and could be an important link between social origin and education. Tracking is the practice of separating students by performance. This separation can occur between schools or within schools. Thus, students are placed in a particular school type (between-school tracking) or class (within-school tracking) based on their performance. National and international research demonstrate the importance of tracking in relation to the emergence of educational inequalities. In this context, previous research has often shown that early and strict tracking leads to greater educational inequality. However, there is also research that finds no effects from tracking or even inequality-reducing effects from early and strict tracking. Against this background, further research on the associations with - and effects of - tracking, including under different settings and contexts, is important for a better understanding of tracking and may be particularly interesting for the German education system. This is because, apart from some deviations, the German education system is characterized by an early and strict separation of students into different school types in secondary education. Over the years, there have been many different educational reforms in Germany with different scopes, goals, and at different phases in the education system. The fact that the federal states in Germany can decide independently on education policy (Kulturhoheit der Länder - Cultural sovereignty of the states) means that they partially developed in different directions. The following contribution is therefore limited to three selected aspects of tracking in the education systems of the federal states in Germany and its influences on features of educational inequality: integrated comprehensive schools, timing of tracking, and strictness of tracking.

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Author:Phil Kolbe
Advisor:Henning Best
Document Type:Doctoral Thesis
Language of publication:English
Publication Date:2023/02/07
Year of Publication:2022
Publishing Institute:Rheinland-Pfälzische Technische Universität Kaiserslautern-Landau
Granting Institute:Rheinland-Pfälzische Technische Universität Kaiserslautern-Landau
Acceptance Date of the Thesis:2022/12/15
Date of the Publication (Server):2023/02/09
Tag:Bildungsreform; Bildungsungleichheit; Kausale Inferenz
GND-Keyword:Bildung; Soziale Ungleichheit
Number of page:VI, 125
Faculties / Organisational entities:Kaiserslautern - Fachbereich Sozialwissenschaften
DDC-Cassification:3 Sozialwissenschaften / 300 Sozialwissenschaften, Soziologie, Anthropologie
3 Sozialwissenschaften / 370 Erziehung, Schul- und Bildungswesen
Licence (German):Creative Commons 4.0 - Namensnennung, nicht kommerziell, keine Bearbeitung (CC BY-NC-ND 4.0)