14 SES 05 A, School Related Transitions within a Life Course Perspective II
Within the framework of research into educational inequality, this paper focuses on the educational success of children who experience parental separation prior to the transition from primary into secondary education. Related to this, the first education passage following primary school is observed. The question arises as to whether children growing up in single parent households after parental separation; and whether children in this category who in addition experienced the formation of a stepfamily differ from each other and from children growing up in “complete families” in regard to their scholastic performance and transition success. For that reason, not only scholastic performance (grades) but also the type of school attended following primary school are of particular interest. Differences between the school track children are supposed to attend according to their scholastic performance (grades) and the school track actually chosen are also of central importance, since they are seen as the result of parental education decisions.
Parental separation and new family formation (extension) have been found to have various effects on the structure of family resources (cf. as a summary Borhardt 2000), which in turn influence children's scholastic performance and parents' decision-making behaviour (cf. Boudon 1974). In addition, from a stress theory perspective, family transformations portray critical incidents that demand adaptation on the part of children, also possibly having an influence on their scholastic performance (cf. as a summary Amato 2010, Kotitschke 2013, Schlemmer 2004, Walper 2002). We therefore expect that children who faced parental separation would show poorer scholastic performance (grades) and lower transition success than children growing up in “complete families”. Further it is expected that children who experienced the formation of a stepfamily would differ from children growing up in single parent households with respect to scholastic performance (grades) and transition success. Since, in Germany, single parent households are often confronted with economic hardship (cf. BMFSFJ 2008, Walper 2002), stepfamilies may provide comparatively better conditions for children. Nevertheless, the formation of stepfamilies, seen as a re-transformation within the family, possibly influences children’s scholastic performance and may have a negative impact on parents’ perceptions of their children’s probability of success within the alternative school tracks.
The analyses are based on data from the longitudinal "BIKS-Study-8-14" (Educational processes, competence development and selection decisions at primary school age). It has been undertaken at the Otto Friedrich University in Bamberg. It examines, inter alia, education-relevant development processes during the four years of primary school attendance and the transition to secondary level education in the German federal states Bavaria and Hessen. While the Bavarian secondary education system is mainly based on a three-tier system (lower track, intermediate track and upper track), Hessen in addition provides comprehensive schools.
Amato, Paul R. (2010): Research on Divorce. Continuing Trends and New Developments. Journal of Marriage and Family, 72 (3), 650-666. Borhardt, Ralf (2000): Familienstruktur und Bildungserfolg. Stimmen die alten Bilder? Zeitschrift für Erziehungswissenschaft, 3 (2), 189-207. Boudon, Raymond (1974): Education, Opportunity, and Social Inequality. New York: Wiley. Federal Ministry of Family, Senior Citizens, Women and Youth (BMFSFJ) (Ed.) (2008): Alleinerziehende in Deutschland. Potenziale, Lebenssituationen und Unterstützungsbedarfe. Monitor. Kotitschke, Edith (forthcoming 2013): Diskontinuierliche Familienbeziehungen und Übertrittserfolg am Ende der Primarschule. In: Evelyne Wannack, Susanne Bosshart , Astrid Eichenberger, Michael Fuchs, Elisabeth Hardegger, Simone Marti (Eds.), 4- bis 12-Jährige - ihre schulischen und ausser-schulischen Lern- und Lebenswelten. Tagungsband der Tagung der SGL vom 25./26. Aug. 2011 in Bern. Schlemmer, Elisabeth (2004): Familienbiographien und Schulkarrieren von Kindern, Theorie und Empirie. Wiesbaden: VS Verlag für Sozialwissenschaften. Walper, Sabine (2002): Einflüsse von Trennung und neuer Partnerschaft der Eltern. Ein Vergleich von Jungen und Mädchen in Ost- und Westdeutschland. Zeitschrift für Soziologie der Erziehung und Sozialisation, 22 (1), 25-46.
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