Analysing Diversion Processes in German Secondary Education: School-Track Effects on Educational Aspirations

Authors: Felix Bittmann, Steffen Schindler,
Issue: 2022
Themes: ,
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Educational aspirations can be regarded as a predictor of final educational attainment, rendering this construct highly relevant for analysing the development of educational inequalities in panel data settings. In the context of the German tracked secondary school system, we analysed school-track effects on the development of educational aspirations. Using data from five consecutive waves of the National Educational Panel Study (NEPS), we selected a sample of high-performing students with initially high aspirations. Our results indicate that pupils in the nonacademic track or with a low social origin tend to lower their aspirations significantly more often than pupils in the academic track or pupils with a high social origin. With mediation analyses, we demonstrate that these differences can be attributed to learning environments at the school level. We also show that the downward adjustment of aspirations in the nonacademic track is less pronounced for students from highly educated families than for students from low-education family backgrounds.