Skip to content
Licensed Unlicensed Requires Authentication Published by De Gruyter Oldenbourg November 29, 2019

The Institutional Dimension of Class-based Educational Decision-making: Evidence from Regional Variation in Switzerland

Institutionelle Dimensionen klassenbasierter Bildungsentscheidungen: Der Effekt regionaler Unterschiede in der Schweiz
Benita Combet
An erratum for this article can be found here: https://doi.org/10.1515/zfsoz-2019-1000

Abstract

This article examines to what extent the specific institutional arrangement of an education system moderates the influence of social background on students’ track allocation, and whether this happens via primary or secondary effects of social origin. I tackle the problem of omitted-variable bias by analyzing subnational education systems in Switzerland, a country with a variety of cantonal school systems but otherwise homogeneous institutions. The results show a complex picture. First, even though the absolute transition probability to the highest track is higher in education systems with low stratification for students of higher social background, this does not translate into a relative advantage as in most cantons the odds of transitioning do not differ between high and low social background students. Second, in line with previous research, I observe that the secondary effect of social origin prevails in more stratified education systems. Third, it is not possible to conclude with certainty that specific features of the education system enable high social background parents to disproportionately influence their children’s transition probabilities because the results are not robust.

Zusammenfassung

Dieser Artikel untersucht inwiefern die institutionelle Ausgestaltung des Bildungssystems den Einfluss der sozialen Schicht auf die Übertrittschancen in den leistungsstärksten Schultrack moderiert und wieweit dies über den primären oder den sekundären Herkunftseffekt geschieht. Das Problem des omitted variable bias bei Ländervergleichen wird mittels eines Vergleichs von subnationalen Bildungssystemen entschärft. Die Schweiz ist dafür besonders geeignet aufgrund einer großen Varietät von Bildungssystemen bei gleichzeitig ähnlichen sozialstaatlichen Institutionen. Die Resultate zeichnen ein komplexes Bild: Obwohl erstens die absolute Übertrittswahrscheinlichkeit für Kinder aus höherer Schicht in weniger stratifizierten Bildungssystemen grösser ist, führt dies nicht zwingend zu einem relativen Vorteil, da sich die Übertrittschancen zwischen den Schichten nicht signifikant unterscheiden. Zweitens lässt sich der Befund aus früherer Forschung, dass in stärker stratifizierten Bildungssystemen der sekundäre Herkunftseffekt größer ist, replizieren. Drittens ist es nicht möglich festzustellen, ob gewisse Institutionen im Bildungssystem für Kinder aus höherer Schicht vorteilhaft sind, da die Resultate nicht robust sind.


Article note

The research data are stored in the GESIS data archive under the following signature: https://dx.doi.org/10.7802/1921


Acknowledgements

Many thanks to Joël Berger, Martina Jakob, Ben Jann, Fabian Kratz, Hannes Kröger, Thomas Meyer, Simon Seiler and the anonymous reviewers for their helpful inputs.

6References

Adnett, N. & P. Davies, 2002: Education as a Positional Good. Implication for Market-based Reforms of State Schooling. British Journal for Educational Studies 50: 189–205.10.1111/1467-8527.00197Search in Google Scholar

Allmendinger, J., 1989: Educational Systems and Labor Market Outcomes. European Sociological Review 5: 231–250.10.1093/oxfordjournals.esr.a036524Search in Google Scholar

Ammermüller, A., 2013: Institutional Features of Schooling Systems and Educational Inequality. Cross-Country Evidence from PIRLS and PISA. German Economic Review 14: 190–213.10.1111/j.1468-0475.2012.00565.xSearch in Google Scholar

Bauer, P. & R.T. Riphahn, 2006: Timing of School Tracking as a Determinant of Intergenerational Transmission of Education. Economic Letters 91: 90–97.10.1016/j.econlet.2005.11.003Search in Google Scholar

Belsky, D.W. et al., 2018: Genetic Analysis of Social-Class Mobility in Five Longitudinal Studies. PNAS, 115 (31): E7275–E7284.10.1073/pnas.1801238115Search in Google Scholar

Berger, J. & B. Combet, 2017: Late School Tracking, Less Class-Bias in Educational Decision-Making? The Uncertainty Reduction-Mechanism and Its Experimental Test. European Sociological Review 33: 124–13610.1093/esr/jcw054Search in Google Scholar

Betts, J.R., 2011: The Economics of Tracking in Education. S. 341–381 in: E.A. Hanushek, S. Macchin & L. Woesmann (Hrsg.), Handbook of the Economics of Education, Vol. 3. Amsterdam: North Holland.10.1016/B978-0-444-53429-3.00007-7Search in Google Scholar

Boone, S. & M. Van Houtte, 2013: Why are Teacher Recommendations at the Transition from Primary to Secondary Education Socially Biased? A Mixed-Methods Research. British Journal of Sociology of Education 34: 1–19.10.1080/01425692.2012.704720Search in Google Scholar

Boudon, R., 1974: Education, Opportunity, and Social Inequality. Changing Prospects in Western Societies. New York: Wiley.Search in Google Scholar

Boudon, R., 1982: The Unintended Consequences of Social Action. London: Macmillan.10.1007/978-1-349-04381-1Search in Google Scholar

Bourdieu, P. & J.-C. Passeron, 1977: Reproduction in Education, Society and Culture. London: Sage.Search in Google Scholar

Breen, R. & J.H. Goldthorpe, 1997: Explaining Educational Differentials. Towards a Formal Rational Action Theory. Rationality and Society 9: 275–305.10.1177/104346397009003002Search in Google Scholar

Breen, R. & J.O. Jonsson, 2000: Analyzing Educational Careers: A Multinomial Transition Model. American Sociological Review 65: 754–772.10.2307/2657545Search in Google Scholar

Brunello, G. & D. Checchi, 2007: Does School Tracking Affect Equality of Opportunity? New International Evidence. Economic Policy 22: 781–861.10.1111/j.1468-0327.2007.00189.xSearch in Google Scholar

Bryan, M.L. & S. P. Jenkins, 2016: Multilevel Modelling of Country Effects. A Cautionary Tale. European Sociological Review 32: 3–22.10.1093/esr/jcv059Search in Google Scholar

Buchmann, C., D.J. Condron & V.J. Roscigno, 2010: Shadow Education, American Style. Test Preparation, the SAT and College Enrollment. Social Forces 89: 435–462.10.1353/sof.2010.0105Search in Google Scholar

Bütler, D., 2016: Elternarbeit: Es schwelt. BildungSchweiz 4: 26–27.Search in Google Scholar

Clarke, P., C. Crawford, F. Steele & A. Vignoles, 2015: Revisiting Fixed- and Random-Effects Models. Some Considerations for Policy-relevant Education Research. Education Economics 23: 259–277.10.1080/09645292.2013.855705Search in Google Scholar

Combet, B., 2013: Zum Einfluss von primären und sekundären Effekten der sozialen Herkunft beim zweiten schulischen Übergang in der Schweiz. Ein Vergleich unterschiedlicher Dekompositions- und Operationalisierungsmethoden. Schweizerische Zeitschrift für Bildungsforschung 35: 447–471.10.24452/sjer.35.3.4919Search in Google Scholar

Diem, A. & S.C. Wolter, 2013: Who is Afraid of School Choice? Swiss Journal of Sociology 39: 57–80.10.2139/ssrn.1793706Search in Google Scholar

Dollmann, J., 2016: Less Choice, Less Inequality? A Natural Experiment on Social and Ethnic Differences in Educational Decision-Making. European Sociological Review 32: 203–215.10.1093/esr/jcv082Search in Google Scholar

Dusek, J.B. & G. Joseph, 1983: The Bases of Teacher Expectancies. A Meta-Analysis. Journal of Education Psychology 75: 327–346.10.1037/0022-0663.75.3.327Search in Google Scholar

EDK, 1970: Konkordat über die Schulkoordination, October 29, 1970. http://edudoc.ch/record/1987/files/1-1d.pdf/ Accessed 20.12.2015.Search in Google Scholar

EDK, 1995: Kantonale Schulsysteme der Schweiz. December 1995. http://edudoc.ch/record/87975?ln=en/ Accessed 20.12.2015.Search in Google Scholar

EDK, 2007: Übertritt Primarstufe – Sekundarstufe I.Search in Google Scholar

Fokken, S., 2016: Eltern verklagen Lehrer: Es kommt zu unglaublichen Exzessen. Spiegel Online,Search in Google Scholar

FORS Swiss Center in the Expertise of Social Science, 2017: Information on the PISA Surveys. https://forsbase.unil.ch/ Accessed May 24, 2017.Search in Google Scholar

Gamoran, A., 1992: The Variable Effects of High School Tracking. American Sociological Review 57: 812–828.10.2307/2096125Search in Google Scholar

Ganzeboom, H.B.G., P.M. De Graaf & D.J. Treiman, 1992: A Standard International Socio-Economicindex of Occupational Status. Social Science Research 21: 1–56.10.1016/0049-089X(92)90017-BSearch in Google Scholar

Goldthorpe, J.H., 2000: On Sociology. Numbers, Narratives, and the Integration of Research and Theory. Oxford: Oxford University Press.Search in Google Scholar

Gresch, C., J. Baumert & K. Maaz, 2009: Empfehlungsstatus, Übergangsempfehlung und der Wechsel in die Sekundarstufe I: Bildungsentscheidungen und soziale Ungleichheit. S. 230–256 in: J. Baumert, K. Maaz & U. Trautwein (Hrsg.), Bildungsentscheidungen (Sonderheft 12 der Zeitschrift für Erziehungswissenschaft). Wiesbaden: VS.10.1007/978-3-531-92216-4_10Search in Google Scholar

Hega, G.M., 2000: Federalism, Subsidiarity and Education Policy in Switzerland. Regional & Federal Studies 10: 1–35.10.1080/13597560008421107Search in Google Scholar

Heisig, J.P., M. Schaeffer & J. Giesecke, 2017: The Costs of Simplicity. Why Multilevel Models May Benefit from Accounting for Cross-Cluster Differences in the Effects of Controls. American Sociological Review 82: 796–827.10.1177/0003122417717901Search in Google Scholar

Hof, S. & S.C. Wolter, 2012: Nachhilfe. Bezahlte ausserschulische Lernunterstützung in der Schweiz. SKBF Staff Paper 8. (http://www.skbf-csre.ch/fileadmin/files/pdf/publikationen/Staffpaper8.pdf/ Accessed December 5, 2015Search in Google Scholar

Horn, D., 2009: Age of Selection Counts. A Cross-Country Analysis of Educational Institutions. Educational Research and Evaluation 15: 343–366.10.1080/13803610903087011Search in Google Scholar

Horn, D., 2013: Diverging Performances: the Detrimental Effects of Early Educational Selection on Equality of Opportunity in Hungary. Research in Social Stratification and Mobility 32: 25–43.10.1016/j.rssm.2013.01.002Search in Google Scholar

Jackson, M., 2013: Determined to Succeed? Performance versus Choice in Educational Attainment. Stanford: Stanford University Press.10.11126/stanford/9780804783026.001.0001Search in Google Scholar

Jackson, M. & J.O. Jonsson, 2013: Inequality of Opportunity across Countries. s. 306–337 in: M. Jackson (Hrsg.), Determined to Succeed? Performance versus Choice in Educational Attainment. Stanford: Stanford University Press.10.11126/stanford/9780804783026.003.0011Search in Google Scholar

Jann, B., 2007a: Making Regression Tables Simplified. The Stata Journal 7: 227–244.10.1177/1536867X0700700207Search in Google Scholar

Jann, B., 2007b: FRE: Stata Module to Display One-Way Frequency Table. Statistical Software Components S456835, Boston College Department of Economics, revised June 3, 2015.Search in Google Scholar

Jann, B., 2014: Plotting Regression Coefficients and Other Estimates. The Stata Journal 14: 708–737.10.1177/1536867X1401400402Search in Google Scholar

Jann, B. 2018a: Customizing Stata Graphs Made Easy (part 1). The Stata Journal 18: 491–502.10.1177/1536867X1801800301Search in Google Scholar

Jann, B. 2018b: Customizing Stata Graphs Made Easy (part 2). The Stata Journal 18: 786–802.10.1177/1536867X1801800403Search in Google Scholar

Jonsson, J.O. & F. Rudolphi, 2011: Weak Performance – Strong Determination: School Achievement and Educational Choice Among Children of Immigrants in Sweden. European Sociological Review 27: 487–508.10.1093/esr/jcq021Search in Google Scholar

Karlson, K. B., A. Holm & R. Breen, 2011: Comparing Regression Coefficients Between Same-sample Nested Models using Logit and Probit. A New Method. Sociological Methodology 42: 286–313.10.1177/0081175012444861Search in Google Scholar

Kahneman, D. & A. Tversky, 1979: Prospect Theory: An Analysis of Decision under Risk. Econometrica 47: 263–292.10.21236/ADA045771Search in Google Scholar

Kohler, U., K.B. Karlson & A. Holm, 2011: Comparing Coefficients of Nested Nonlinear Probability Models. The Stata Journal 11: 420–438.10.1177/1536867X1101100306Search in Google Scholar

Kröger, H. & J. Skopek, 2017: Logistic Confusion – An Extended Treatment on Cross-Group Comparability of Findings Obtained from Logistic Regression. Working Paper, April 2017.Search in Google Scholar

Lane, J.-E., 2001: Introduction. Switzerland and its Institutions and Behavioural Outcomes. West European Politics 24: 1–18.10.1080/01402380108425430Search in Google Scholar

Le Donné, N., 2014: European Variations in Socioeconomic Inequalities in Students’ Cognitive Achievement. The Role of Educational Policies. European Sociological Review 30: 329–343.10.1093/esr/jcu040Search in Google Scholar

Lohmann, H. & O. Groh-Samberg, 2010: Akzeptanz von Grundschulempfehlungen und Auswirkungen auf den weiteren Bildungsverlauf. Zeitschrift für Soziologie 39: 470–492.10.1515/zfsoz-2010-0603Search in Google Scholar

Mare, R.D., 1980: Social Background and School Continuation Decisions. Journal of the American Statistical Association 75: 295–305.10.1080/01621459.1980.10477466Search in Google Scholar

Neuenschwander, M., 2007: Bedingungen und Anpassungsprozesse bei erwartungswidrigen Bildungsverläufen. S. 83–104 in: T. Eckert (Hrsg.), Übergänge im Bildungswesen. Münster: Waxmann.Search in Google Scholar

Neugebauer, M., 2010: Bildungsungleichheit und Grundschulempfehlung beim Übergang auf das Gymnasium. Eine Dekomposition primärer und sekundärer Herkunftseffekte. Zeitschrift für Soziologie 39: 202–214.10.1515/zfsoz-2010-0303Search in Google Scholar

Oehlert, G.W., 1992: A Note on the Delta Method. The American Statistician 46: 27–29.10.1080/00031305.1992.10475842Search in Google Scholar

Pfeffer, F., 2008: Persistent Inequality in Educational Attainment and its Institutional Context. European Sociological Review 24: 543–565.10.1093/esr/jcn026Search in Google Scholar

Ramseier, E. et al., 1995: Schule, Leistung und Persönlichkeit: TIMSS+. http://forsdata.unil.ch/fw_query_fors/jd-result-2-det.fwx?lang=d&htm.sel0=1224/ Accessed April 7, 2015.Search in Google Scholar

Ready, D.D. & D.L. Wright, 2011: Accuracy and Inaccuracy in Teachers’ Perceptions of Young Children’s Cognitive Abilities. The Role of Child Background and Classroom Context. American Educational Research Journal 48: 335–360.10.3102/0002831210374874Search in Google Scholar

Regli, F. & H. Furer, 1996: Schulsysteme der Schweiz. Eine tabellarische Übersicht des Bildungswesens in der Schweiz. 2. Auflage. Basel: Cratander AG.Search in Google Scholar

Schütz, G., H.W. Ursprung & L. Woessmann, 2008: Education Policy and Equality of Opportunity. Kyklos 61: 279–308.10.1111/j.1467-6435.2008.00402.xSearch in Google Scholar

Simon, V., 2016: Lehrer im Visier der Anwälte. Tagesanzeiger, August 5, 2016. http://www.tagesanzeiger.ch/zuerich/region/lehrer-zunehmend-unter-druck/story/18165472 / Accessed: August 5, 2016.Search in Google Scholar

Stadelmann-Steffen, I., 2012: Education Policy and Educational Inequality. Evidence from the Swiss Laboratory. European Sociological Review 28: 379–393.10.1093/esr/jcq071Search in Google Scholar

Stevenson, D.L. & D.P. Baker, 1992: Shadow Education and Allocation in Formal Schooling. Transition to University in Japan. American Journal of Sociology 97: 1639–1657.10.1086/229942Search in Google Scholar

Streckeisen, U., D. Hänzi & A. Hungerbühler, 2007: Fördern und Auslesen. Deutungsmuster von Lehrpersonen zu einem beruflichen Dilemma. Wiesbaden: VS.10.1007/978-3-531-90751-2Search in Google Scholar

Swiss Statistics, 2016: Income, Consumption and Wealth – Data, Indicators. Household income and expenditure 2013. http://www.bfs.admin.ch/bfs/portal/en/index/themen/20/02/blank/key/einkommen0/niveau.htm/ Accessed June 14, 2016.Search in Google Scholar

Van de Werfhorst, H.G. & J.J.B. Mijs, 2010: Achievement Inequality and the Institutional Structure of Educational systems. A Comparative Perspective. Annual Review of Sociology 36: 407–428.10.1146/annurev.soc.012809.102538Search in Google Scholar

Waldinger, F., 2007: Does Ability Tracking Exacerbate the Role of Background for Students’ Test Scores? Working Paper. http://www2.warwick.ac.uk/fac/soc/economics/staff/ffwaldinger/research/ability_tracking.pdf/ Accessed October 30, 2017.Search in Google Scholar

Zahner Rossier, C. et al., 2004: PISA Bericht 2003. Kompetenzen für die Zukunft. Erster nationaler Bericht. Bildungsmonitoring Schweiz. BFS/EDK.Search in Google Scholar

Published Online: 2019-11-29
Published in Print: 2019-10-01

© 2019 Walter de Gruyter GmbH, Berlin/Boston

Scroll Up Arrow