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On unequal paths: New multimedia report on "Education and Work”

Life paths differ - in areas such as career, health, and relationships. How do one develop? How does the social background affect educational trajectories? These questions are explored by the Empirical Social Research on Education and Work, which forms an outstanding interdisciplinary research area in Bamberg. A new multimedia report from the Otto Friedrich University of Bamberg presents this research focus and let researchers from the Leibniz Institute for Educational Trajectories (LIfBi) have their say.

An important data basis for empirical educational and social research is the National Educational Panel (NEPS), which is based at LIfBi. As one of the largest longitudinal educational studies worldwide, it has been regularly collecting data from around 60,000 people in Germany for more than ten years with its recurring surveys and competency tests.

Similar intelligence, different educational paths
Prof. Dr. Corinna Kleinert, professor at the University of Bamberg and deputy director of LIfBi, uses NEPS data, among other things, to study the influence of social inequalities on people's educational paths. In the new multimedia report, she presents one of her research focuses in a short film.

"Even if children are similarly intelligent, they still take completely different educational paths," Kleinert explains. In 2021, she and fellow sociologists Claudia Traini and Felix Bittmann from LIfBi compared how the learning progress of students develops over five years. "We found that children with similar family and cognitive backgrounds make better learning progress at the Gymnasium than at the Realschule," Corinna Kleinert summarizes. According to the study, it is above all the performance level and the social composition of a class that influence the learning progress of individual students.

The growing importance of digital competence
Not only social prerequisites, but also competences influence the development of the educational path. Prof. Dr. Cordula Artelt, Director of LIfBi and Chair at the University of Bamberg, shows in the multimedia report how the importance of reading has fundamentally changed in the last 20 years: "Through the Internet, one is constantly confronted with different texts - from factual texts to opinions. Children and young people have to learn to evaluate sources: What is right, what is wrong? Who wrote the text?"

The educational researcher is convinced of the importance of students questioniing the texts they read. What is needed, however, are not only skills in digital reading, but even more: "The teaching of digital skills must be anchored in the curricula - both fundamentally and across subjects." By this, Cordula Artelt doesn't mean additional lessons in computer science, but basic knowledge and skills that are necessary for competent handling of digital information and data in many subjects. For example, young people could learn to classify and evaluate sources on the Internet in history lessons.

In addition to Kleinert and Artelt, the new multimedia report lets many other scientists from a wide range of disciplines have their say. It invites you to discover the versatility and social significance of the research focus Empirical Social Research on Education and Work.

To the multimedia report at the University of Bamberg

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