Front. Educ.
Sec. Educational Psychology
doi: 10.3389/feduc.2022.894249

How immigrant optimism shapes educational transitions over the educational life course – Empirical evidence from Germany

  • 1Georg-August University of Göttingen, Germany
  • 2University of Education Freiburg, Germany
Provisionally accepted:
The final, formatted version of the article will be published soon.

Compared to natives, young adults with an immigrant background are more likely to choose academic education over vocational education and training (VET). Our study investigates ethnic choice effects at different stages of the educational system. Based on longitudinal data from the German National Educational Panel Study (NEPS), we found that immigrant youths – when controlling for achievement and social background – were more likely to attend academic tracks in Grade 9, have higher participation rates in academic tracks at the upper-secondary level, are less likely to choose VET after lower-secondary education as well as after upper-secondary education, and switch more often to higher education after achieving an upper-secondary degree. Mediation analyses confirmed that these effects were largely shaped by differences in educational and occupational aspirations. Our study provides detailed insights into the transition pathways at different educational stages and the relevant mechanisms driving migration-specific choice effects. As ethnic choice effects are empirically well documented in international research, our investigation may contribute to a deeper understanding of educational inequalities in other European countries.

Keywords: ethnic choice effects, secondary ethnic effects, Immigrant optimism, Educational Transitions, Vocational education and training (VET), Academic education

Received: 11 Mar 2022; Accepted: 02 Sep 2022.

Copyright: © 2022 Busse and Scharenberg. This is an open-access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License (CC BY). The use, distribution or reproduction in other forums is permitted, provided the original author(s) and the copyright owner(s) are credited and that the original publication in this journal is cited, in accordance with accepted academic practice. No use, distribution or reproduction is permitted which does not comply with these terms.

* Correspondence: Dr. Robin Busse, Georg-August University of Göttingen, Göttingen, Germany