The increase in immigration of refugees in recent years, especially between 2014 and 2017, continues to challenge integration policy for the Federal Republic of Germany. Due to the high proportion of young refugees, the educational system is of particular importance for the medium- and long-term integration of refugee children, adolescents, and their families. Access to preschool institutions and school education, but also to vocational education and training and tertiary education, have an impact not only on the transition to the labor market and career paths, but also on social participation.


Scientific studies have increasingly focused on the educational participation of refugees, among them also the study „ReGES – Refugees in the German Educational System“. The new study "Educational Trajectories of Refugee Children and Adolescents" builds on the ReGES sample and continues the longitudinal survey of the educational trajectories of young refugees. While the ReGES Data focus on the transition from day care facilities to elementary school and the educational trajectories within lower secondary education, the new study aims to examine other important transitions in the educational pathways of refugee children and adolescents.



The aim of the study "Educational Trajectories of Refugee Children and Adolescents“ is to describe, with a longer-term perspective, the educational trajectories of newly immigrated refugee children and adolescents and to investigate which factors promote or impede the integration of refugees into the German educational system and their transition to the labor market. In addition to regional and institutional factors, the acquisition of German language skills can also play a role. Furthermore, previous educational pathways and experiences in the educational system are important, which might have an influence on further educational and career paths.


The study sheds light on important transitions in the educational and professional biographies of refugee children and adolescents. First, the transition from elementary school to lower secondary education is examined in more detail. This is important because origin-specific educational inequalities can already arise here. Several questions are important in connection with this transition, such as: Can children complete elementary school in the standard duration? To which type of school do young refugees transfer after elementary school and which individual and family-related factors influence educational decisions at the transition to lower secondary school?


Second, the transition from lower secondary education to upper secondary education will be examined in more detail. In the further course, the data of the study will be used to examine the extent to which the chosen (educational) programs are successfully completed. Central questions are: What school-leaving qualifications are acquired and what further educational qualifications are aspired to? How successfully can young refugees complete vocational preparation programs and how well are various support measures suited for preparing young refugees for vocational training? Can the chosen vocational training programs be successfully completed and how is the transition to the labor market like? Do young refugees succeed in taking up studies at a university (of applied sciences) after acquiring a university entrance qualification, or are other educational trajectories in the focus?



Who is surveyed?

The goal of the study is to continue to accompany the educational trajectories of the two cohorts of the previous study ReGES, who are each at important transitions in their educational trajectories at the time the first survey wave of „Educational Trajectories of Refugee Children and Adolescents“. In total, approximately 1,200 parents of elementary school children and approximately 1,400 adolescents between 18 and 20 will be accompanied during the project phase.


Where does the survey take place?

The survey is conducted primarily in five selected German federal states: Bavaria, Hamburg, North Rhine-Westphalia, Rhineland-Palatinate and Saxony (Fig. 1 "Map"). These federal states differ systematically in certain factors considered by researchers to be important for the integration of refugees. These include, for example, the number of refugees admitted, the schooling and day care strategies for young refugees, but also factors such as the unemployment rate, the proportion of the population with migration experience, or the population density. The interviews are conducted on site in the accommodations and households of the refugees. In the event of a relocation to another federal state, the adolescents or the families will continue to be interviewed there.


How is the survey conducted?

As part of the study, two interviews with the participants will be conducted in a multi-mode design in 2022 and 2024. Elementary school children and their parents will be interviewed on the one hand, and adolescents on the other (Fig. 2 "Survey Design").


Data collection and processing

The preparation of the content of the surveys, the project and study management, and the subsequent data processing are carried out by the Leibniz Institute for Educational Trajectories (LIfBi). Therefor the Migration working unit, the Center for Study Management, the Software Development working unit, and the Research Data Center work closely together.


The social research institute "infas Institute for Applied Social Sciences“ is responsible for the data collection (for more information on the procedure, see Methods).


The interviews are conducted in Arabic, German, or English. The interviews combine a computer-assisted face-to-face interview conducted directly by an interviewer (CAPI) with a computer-assisted questionnaire that participants complete themselves (CASI). At the first measurement, elementary school children will also receive a short, paper-based questionnaire (PAPI) in German. In the second wave in 2024, competence tests using standardized tests will also be administered.


The data will be made available to the scientific community as Scientific Use files (SUF) by the LIfBi Research Data Center.


Project profil

  • Project heads and und applicants: Dr. Jutta von Maurice, Dr. Gisela Will
  • Funding period: February 2021 – June 2026
  • Funder: Federal Ministry of Education and Research (BMBF)


Postal address

Leibniz Institute for Educational Trajectories
Educational Trajectories of Refugee Children and Adolescents
Wilhelmsplatz 3
96047 Bamberg



Dr. Gisela Will
+49 951 863-3426


Project team 2021: Lea Rauh, Timo Reichert, Shaza Al Rihawi, Pascal Bentata (until 2022), Dr. Dominik Weigand (until 2021), Dr. Gisela Will, Dr. Regina Becker, Patrick Matthias Weber, Dr. Jutta von Maurice, Christin Förster, Julian Seuring, Sven Pelz (left to right).


Here you can find all publications by staff members of the Leibniz Institute for Educational Trajectories (LIfBi) related to the projects "Educational Trajectories of Refugee Children and Adolescents" and "ReGES".


von Maurice, J., & Will, G. (2023). Data from the Panel Study ‘Refugees in the German Educational System (ReGES)’. Journal of Open Psychology Data, 11(1).


Welker, J. & Will, G. (2023). The role of recent refugees’ educational selectivity in their children’s educational decisions in Germany. Frontiers in Sociology. 7:1061976.


Welker, J., Will, G., Al Rihawi, S., & Weber, F. (2022). The occupational situation in the country of origin – illustration using the example of Syrian families in the ReGES study (LIfBi Working Paper No. 104). Leibniz Institute for Educational Trajectories.


Will, G., Becker, R., & Winkler, O. (2022). Educational Policies Matter: How Schooling Strategies Influence Refugee Adolescents' School Participation in Lower Secondary Education in Germany. Frontiers in Sociology 7, Art. 842543.


Heinritz, F., Will, G. & Gentile, R. (2022): Surveying Illiterate Individuals: Are Audio Files in Computer-Assisted Self-Interviews a Useful Supportive Tool? In S. Pötzschke & S. Rinken (Hrsg.), Migration Research in a Digitized World, IMISCOE Research Series (S. 101-126),


Seuring, J., & Will, G. (2022). German Language Acquisition of Refugee Children — The Role of Preschools and Language Instruction. Frontiers in Sociology.


Becker, R., Will, G., & Siegers, R. (2021). Geflüchtete Jugendliche in der Sekundarstufe I – Ergebnisse der Befragung der institutionellen Kontextpersonen der ReGES-Studie (LIfBi Working Paper No. 103). Leibniz-Institut für Bildungsverläufe.


Will, G., Homuth, C., von Maurice, J., & Roßbach, H.-G. (2021). Integration of Recently Arrived Underage Refugees: Research Potential of the Study ReGES - Refugees in the German Educational System. European Sociological Review, 2021, 1–17.


Welker, J., Abou Hassoun, W., Al Rihawi, S. & Will, G. (2021). Educational system, participation, and attainment in pre-crisis Syria (LIfBi Working Paper No. 100). Leibniz Institute for Educational Trajectories.


Siebler, F.,Bentata, P. & Will, G. (2021). Befragung von regionalen Kontextpersonen im Rahmen der Studie ReGES (LIfBi Working Paper No. 99). Leibniz-Institut für Bildungsverläufe.


Obry, M., Schild, A., Will, G. & Kopp, F. (2021). Die Messung des rezeptiven Wortschatzes in der Flüchtlingsstudie ReGES (Welle 1) (LIfBi Working Paper No. 98). Leibniz-Institut für Bildungsverläufe.


Homuth, C., Liebau, E., & Will, G. (2021). The role of socioeconomic, cultural, and structural factors in daycare attendance among refugee children. Journal for Educational Research Online, 13(1), 16–77.


von Maurice, J., & Will, G. (2021). Geflüchtete Kinder und Jugendliche im deutschen Bildungssystem. Zentrale Befunde der Studie ReGES (LIfBi Forschung kompakt No. 2). Leibniz-Institut für Bildungsverläufe.


Welker, J. (2021). Relative education of recent refugees in Germany and the Middle East: Is selectivity reflected in migration and destination decisions? In: International Migration.


Heinritz, F., & Will, G. (2021). Selektive Teilnahme von Geflüchteten an der Panelstudie ReGES (LIfBi Working Paper No. 96). Leibniz-Institut für Bildungsverläufe. 


Becker, R., Weber, F., & Bentata, P. (2021). Measuring educational trajectories of adolescent refugees in a longitudinal perspective. Challenges and solutions in the ReGES study (LIfBi Working Paper No. 95). Leibniz Institute for Educational Trajectories.


Heinritz, F. & Will, G. (2021). Geflüchtete in Kindertagesstätten – Erste Ergebnisse der Befragung der institutionellen Kontextpersonen der ReGES-Studie. (LIfBi Working Paper No. 93). Leibniz-Institut für Bildungsverläufe.


Homuth, C., Welker, J., Will, G., & Von Maurice, J. (2020). The Impact of Legal Status on Different Schooling Aspects of Adolescents in Germany. Refuge: Canada’s Journal on Refugees, 36(2), 45–57.


Homuth, C., Will, G., & von Maurice, J. (2020). Broken School Biographies of Adolescent Refugees in Germany. In A. Korntheuer, P. Pritchard, D.B. Maehler & L. Wilkinson (Eds.), Refugees in Canada and Germany: From Research to Policies and Practice (GESIS-Schriftenreihe, 25) (pp. 123-142). GESIS - Leibniz-Institut für Sozialwissenschaften.


Kristen, C.,  Spörlein, C., Schmidt, R. & Welker, J. (2020). Mehrheit der Geflüchteten hat höhere Bildung im Vergleich zur Herkunftsgesellschaft. DIW Wochenbericht 34/2020, 563-570.
Link zur Publikation


Spörlein, C., Kristen, C., Schmidt, R., & Welker, J. (2020). Selectivity profiles of recently arrived refugees and labor migrants in Germany. Soziale Welt 71 (1-2), 54–89.


von Maurice, J., Balaban, E., Will, G., & Roßbach, H.-G. (2020). Kinder mit Fluchthintergrund: Zur Bedeutung von Kindertageseinrichtungen für einen erfolgreichen Übergang in die Grundschule und den späteren Bildungserfolg. In S. Pohlmann-Rother, S. D. Lange & U. Franz (Eds.), Kooperation von Kita und Grundschule Band 2: Digitalisierung, Inklusion und Mehrsprachigkeit - Aktuelle Herausforderungen beim Übergang bewältigen (pp. 45-80). Carl Link Verlag.


Weigand, D. & Förster, C. (2020). Kommunikationsstrategien in einer Längsschnittstudie zur Bildungsintegration von Flüchtlingen. Praxiserfahrungen aus ReGES – Refugees in the German Educational System. In M. Gonser, K. Zimmer, N. Mühlhäußer & D. Gluns (Eds.), Wissensmobilisierung und Transfer in der Fluchtforschung: Kommunikation, Beratung und kooperatives Forschungshandeln (pp. 55-70). Waxmann Verlag.


Will, G., Becker, R., & Weigand, D. (2020). COVID-19 lockdown during field work — Challenges and strategies in continuing the ReGES study. Survey Research Methods, 14(2), 247-252.


Will, G. & Homuth, C. (2020). Education of Refugee Adolescents at the End of Secondary School: The Role of Educational Policies, Individual and Familial Resources. Soziale Welt, 71 (1-2), 161 – 201.


Will, G. & Homuth, C. (2020). L’accueil des nouveaux immigrants dans le système scolaire – l’exemple de l’Allemagne. Administration & Education 166(2), 177-183.



Gentile, R., Heinritz, F. & Will, G. (2019). Übersetzung von Instrumenten für die Befragung von Neuzugewanderten und Implementation einer audiobasierten Interviewdurchführung (LIfBi Working Paper No. 86). Leibniz-Institut für Bildungsverläufe.

Link zur Publikation


Steinhauer, H. W., Zinn, S., & Will, G. (2019). Sampling refugees for an educational longitudinal survey. Survey Methods: Insights from the Field.



Will, G., Balaban, E., Dröscher, A., Homuth, C. & Welker, J. (2018). Integration von Flüchtlingen: Erste Ergebnisse der ReGES-Studie (LIfBi Working Paper No. 76). Leibniz-Institut für Bildungsverläufe.
Link zur Publikation


Will, G., Gentile, R., Heinritz, F., & von Maurice, J. (2018). ReGES – Refugees in the German Educational System: Forschungsdesign, Stichprobenziehung und Ausschöpfung der ersten Welle (LIfBi Working Paper No. 75). Leibniz-Institut für Bildungsverläufe.

Link zur Publikation

The project "BildungswegeFlucht" is carried out across departments at LIfBi. In addition to the team from Department 2, employees of the Center for Study Management, the Software Development working unit and the Research Data Center are also significantly involved (Click here for team picture).


Webseite for Participants