Social selection during the transition from primary school to secondary education stage: effects of antisocial behaviour and prosocial deficits on school choice
Department of Empirical Social Research Johannes Kepler University Linz, Austria
The educational career of children affects many areas of their later lives (e.g. income, employment, ?). In Germany the first decision about which educational track to follow is made after primary school, at the age of ten. Depending on which school type is chosen, differential developmental opportunities are disclosed or constrained. It could be expected that in addition to the grades there are other variables which affect the choice of a particular educational track. Using data from a longitudinal cohort study (Children's Panel of the German Youth Institute) the effects of children?s characteristics (antisocial behaviour and prosocial skills) on the followed educational track were examined. Two national representative age cohorts were surveyed three times at intervals of one and a half year. The younger cohort (N=1148) started at the age of about 5 years. The cohort of the elder (N=1042) was interviewed the first time at the age of 8-9 years. The guiding hypotheses are that (1) mediated by the teacher?s recommendation regarding the school track pupils should choose and independent from the grades in primary school, children with high levels of antisocial behaviour and low levels of prosocial skills change more often to a secondary elementary school (This is the lowest school track). (2) There is an effect of secondary elementary school to subsequent antisocial behaviour and to the maintenance of prosocial deficits. Furthermore the impact of SES on the particular educational track was investigated. Results indicate that antisocial behaviour enhances ? independent from the grades ? the probability that children attend a secondary elementary school. This effect is mediated by the teacher?s recommendation. The effect of prosocial deficits is not supported by the data. The data supports the hypothesis that the school type fosters ? independent from prior levels of behavioural problems - further antisocial behaviour. The analogue hypothesis for prosocial behaviour is not supported. Further results show that SES affects school choice in versatile ways. Low-SES children are characterised by higher levels of antisocial behaviour and lower school attainment and thus attend more often a secondary elementary school. Finally there is a direct SES-effect on school choice.