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From intermediate secondary school to university? Dr. Oliver Winkler talks about moving up within the German school system

As part of the Leibniz Institute for Educational Trajectories’ (LIfBi) involvement in the National Report on Education 2018, Dr. Oliver Winkler (Martin-Luther-University of Halle-Wittenberg) was invited for a guest lecture as an expert on downward and upward mobility during the school career. On April 7, 2017, he gave a presentation on the topic of “Second chance education during the life course. A sequence pattern analysis of intermediate secondary school graduates making up for Abitur.”

In his presentation, Winkler provided information about typical career patterns of graduates from Realschule [intermediate secondary school] and how these patterns develop after obtaining the Abitur [higher education entrance qualification]. For the analysis, data of Starting Cohort 6 of the National Educational Panel Study (NEPS) were used. The results show that, although the transition from Realschule to Gymnasium [type of school leading to upper secondary education and Abitur] does occur, it plays a lesser role in comparison to the predominant “normal” educational trajectories (vocational training or direct entry into employment). Whether or not graduates from Realschule choose a path toward university or toward a “normal” educational career also depends significantly on social change or on the economic situation.  

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