Faktencheck #55: Wie die Eltern das System überlisten

An der Nahtstelle zwischen Primar- und Sekundarstufe bestimmt nicht immer die Leistung, wie es mit einem Kind weitergeht. Vielmehr hat eine überwältigende Menge von Studien nachgewiesen, dass da starke Herkunftseffekte wirksam sind. Davon, wie die Eltern hier ihren Willen durchsetzen, berichtet eine Studie, an der unter anderem Kai Maaz, Direktor am DIPF / Leibniz-Institut für Bildungsforschung und Bildungsinformation, beteiligt war.


Dumont, H., Klinge, D. & Maaz, K. (2019). The Many (Subtle) Ways Parents Game the System: Mixed-method Evidence on the Transition into Secondary-school Tracks in Germany. Sociology of Education 92 (2), 199–228. doi:10.1177/0038040719838223


Maaz-KaiKai Maaz kam in diesem Blog schon einmal zu Wort: Dreigliedrigkeit ade. Mit ihm arbeitet am DIPF Hanna Dumont zusammen. Denise Klinge lehrt und forscht an der Universität der Bundeswehr in München.

To game the system kann man übersetzen mit „das System austricksen“, „ausspielen“, „überlisten“ oder „sich zunutze machen“.

Ausgangsfrage und -hypothese

Wie geschieht die Zuordnung von Kindern auf die Schularten der Sekundarstufe? Welche Mechanismen sind dabei wirksam?

What are the processes and mechanisms underlying social inequalities in the transition from elementary school to secondary-school tracks? Specifically, we analyze social background effects on four outcomes: student achievement, teacher-assigned grades, teachers’ track recommendations, and track enrollment. We expect these variables to influence each other in consecutive order. (Dumont et al. 2019, S. 206)

Die Verfasser/innen stellen zunächst die Herkunftseffekte vor, wie sie in in der pädagogischen und bildungssoziologischen Literatur als Konsens gegeben sind; anschließend beschreiben sie unterschiedliche Ansätze zur Erklärung der Herkunftseffekte. Die detaillierte Vorstellung ihrer Studien und Auswertungen erspare ich mir und weise nur darauf hin, dass ihre quantitative Auswertung auf 3935 Datensätzen (Berliner Sechstklässler) beruht und ihre qualitative Untersuchung auf 25 Interviews mit betroffenen Eltern. Sie sehen die Stärke ihres Ansatzes darin, die quantitative und qualitative Achse miteinander zu kreuzen.

Herkunftseffekte

Die unterschiedlichen Herkunftseffekte bringen die Verfasser/innen in folgende Struktur:

Herkunftseffekte
Die Gesamtstruktur der Herkunftseffekte (Dumont et al. 2019, S. 206)

Drei Herkunftseffekte

Nur noch mal zur Erläuterung, welche drei Herkunftseffekte von den Forscher/innen als wissenschaftlicher Standard angesehen und ihrem Diagramm zugrunde gelegt werden:

  • Primäre Effekte: Direkte Auswirkungen der Herkunftsfamilie auf die Leistungen in der Schule
  • Sekundäre Effekte: Aspirationen der Eltern und Schüler in Bezug auf die weitere Schullaufbahn
  • Tertiäre Effekte: Einschätzungen und Empfehlungen der Lehrkräfte, die nicht nur der Leistung eines Kindes, sondern (zu) oft auch der Herkunft geschuldet sind

Seit 50 Jahren werden die Herkunftseffekte bestätigt, die besonders in Deutschland zu Bildungsungleichheiten führen

Numerous empirical studies document that children whose families come from low socioeconomic backgrounds are less likely to succeed in education than children from high socioeconomic backgrounds. In fact, this may be the most consistent finding to emerge from educational research over the past 50 years. (Dumont et al. 2019, S. 199; Hervorhebungen von mir)

Studying Germany’s tracking system allows us to show that certain structural features of educational systems make it more likely that parents, especially those with high socioeconomic background, get what they want for their children. Compared to other industrialized countries, Germany has one of the highest levels of educational inequality. Comparative social stratification research suggests this is most likely due to its early tracking system, which sorts students into schools following different curricular tracks after elementary school (Shavit and Müller 2000; Van de Werfhorst and Mijs 2010). The transition into secondary-school tracks has been identified as a key time point at which social inequalities in the German educational system emerge (Kelly 2008; Neugebauer and Schindler 2012). (Dumont et al. 2019, S. 200; Hervorhebungen von mir)

Etliche Studien zeigen, dass die besonders strikte Trennung in Schularten zu besonderen Ungleichheiten führt

A number of comparative studies show that countries with more rigid forms of tracking that begin earlier tend to have greater socioeconomic inequality in achievement and lower levels of intergenerational mobility in educational attainment (Brunello and Checchi 2007; Buchmann and Park 2009; Dupriez and Dumay 2006; Hanushek and Wo¨ßmann 2006; Montt 2011; Mu¨ller and Karle 1993; Pfeffer 2008; Shavit and Blossfeld 1993; Shavit and Müller 1998; Van de Werfhorst and Mijs 2010). (Dumont et al. 2019, S. 201)

Die negativen Effekte sind umso stärker, je früher die Trennung einsetzt

Moreover, the impact of social background tends to be larger at earlier educational transitions than at later ones (Jackson and Jonsson 2013; Mare 1981; Mu¨ller and Karle 1993; Shavit and Blossfeld 1993), because the younger the students, the more uncertainty there is about their academic potential and the more parents make educational decisions for their children (Bauer and Riphahn 2006; Schnabel et al. 2002). (Dumont et al. 2019, S. 201)

Im Anschluss an diese Überlegungen werden unterschiedliche Erklärungsansätze für die Herkunftseffekte referiert und beurteilt, in erster Linie Boudon und Bourdieu. Diesen Teil überspringe ich jetzt. Zu Bourdieu gibt es hier einen ausführlichen Blogeintrag.

Die tertiären Effekte

Die tertiären Herkunftseffekte wurden in diesem Blogbeitrag bereits dargestellt. Das Folgende notieren die drei Verfasser/innen dazu:

Esser (2016a, 2016b) notes the importance of the school context for explaining social inequalities at educational transition points (see also Maaz and Nagy 2009). He suggests that Boudon’s (1974) theoretical framework should be extended to tertiary effects, that is, effects of social background on educational attainment that are transmitted via teachers and schools, in particular, teachers’ stereotyped expectations that affect how they evaluate students’ performance. In fact, teachers play a crucial role in students’ educational pathways: they evaluate and grade students’ performance and thus strongly influence the educational credentials they obtain. In tracked school systems, teachers play an even more pivotal role for students’ educational pathways because they recommend which track students should attend. (Dumont et al. 2019, S. 203; Hervorhebung von mir)

Der Knackpunkt: Eltern-Lehrer-Interaktion

Wie gehen die Eltern mit dem System um, das sie vorfinden und in dem sie ihre Kinder voranbringen wollen? Die Antwort ist einfach zu verstehen:

In our case, it is the social dynamic of interaction between parents and school staff that leads to the observed social inequalities. (Dumont et al. 2019, S. 200)

In dem Aufsatz werden einige Abschnitte aus den geführten Interviews zitiert, die uns helfen, die reine Begrifflichkeit der Herkunftseffekte mit Leben zu füllen.

Beispiel für den primären Herkunftseffekt: Wie sich die familiäre Herkunft auf die Leistungen in der Schule auswirkt

He can also study independently but he is always very distracted. . . . And also the problem is, that he studies best with me . . . because I always notice when he studies with me, he achieves better results. And so we spend many, many of our weekends just doing quite a lot of studying and, uh, because he has—has to learn this himself: he didn’t learn this well in elementary school, I think, or he wasn’t taught it, how to learn independently and to develop strategies how to do this well. This is only coming up now, and so, um, we spend a lot oftime on this. (parent: high-educated; child: academic-track recommendation academic-track enrollment) (Dumont et al. 2019, S. 217)

daddy_girl-1641215_1920
Das Engagement der Eltern ist maßgeblich für den Schulerfolg der Kinder. Quelle: Pixabay

Sekundärer Effekt: Wie die elterlichen Erwartungen Druck auf die Lehrer ausüben

And if it only depends on one grade, uh, yes, then it is clear, then they would strong-arm certain teachers and say, ‘‘Now please turn the C into a B so that it’s not on you if our kid doesn’t get an academic-track recommendation,’’ or something like that. (parent: high-educated; child: academic-track recommendation academic-track enrollment) (Dumont et al. 2019, S. 217)

Tertiärer Effekt: Wie Eltern gegen die Lehrer-Stereotype ankämpfen

I had to put some pressure on there, that this is definitely an academic-track recommendation, even if they [the teachers] haven’t noticed this so far. (parent: low-educated; child: academic-track recommendation ! academic-track enrollment) (Dumont et al. 2019, S. 218)

Elternsprecher wissen, worauf es ankommt

I’ve been a parents’ representative since elementary school, and, um, the longer you do this, the more you realize what the things are that you have to work on, where you have to do certain things. (parent: higheducated; child: academic-track recommendation ! academic-track enrollment) (Dumont et al. 2019, S. 219)

Beispiel für eine als selbstverständlich angenommene Akademikerkarriere des Kindes

Whether you get an academic-track recommendation at all or whatever recommendation you get—and even if you do not get one, you can still make your own decisions—a lot depends on it. Um, it is also that you wonder what’s actually the best choice for the child, right? It’s always an individual decision. And for me it was because I went to an academic-track school myself, it was actually clear, OK, academic track, right, my children will go to an academic-track school of course. (parent: high-educated; child: academictrack recommendation ! academic-track enrollment) (Dumont et al. 2019, S. 219)

Sekundärer Herkunftseffekt mal anders herum – Warum Eltern ihr Kind trotz klarer Eignung nicht auf die höhere Schule schicken

So he did actually say he’d like to go to an academic-track school, but then I said we could spare ourselves that, he is much too lazy, he doesn’t need the pressure, he should do something more practical, but that constant pressure is not necessary; so maybe he does some thinking, and he knows what he wants to do. I mean, you can still do the vocational version of the Abitur after the 10th grade, or as I said, if he’s mentally up to it, if he wants to. . . . She [the teacher] said that if he wanted, he could go to the academic track, and he will probably get the recommendation. I didn’t know this yet then, but I said no, the academic track is out of the question, so this was our decision. (parent: low-educated; child: academic-track recommendation ! nonacademic-track enrollment). (Dumont et al. 2019, S. 219–220)

Zusammenfassung – Wie sich die elterlichen Erwartungen auswirken

Dieses Zitat beschreibt, wie sich die elterlichen Erwartungen frühzeitig in kommunikatives Handeln umsetzen und so eine Basis der Zusammenarbeit und des Zusammendenkens mit den maßgeblichen Lehrkräften etablieren (Bourdieus „Habitus“). Auf dieser gemeinsamen Grundlage ist dann oft gar keine explizite Intervention mehr nötig.

Our qualitative analyses also provided evidence on social background effects during the transition into secondary-school tracks and allowed us to gain a deeper understanding of the underlying mechanisms.

For most of the higheducated parents, it was clear their children would attend the academic track (even if they did not receive an academic-track recommendation), because they had attended the academic track themselves. Accordingly, these parents subtly intervened to make sure their children would be able to attend an academic-track school long before the actual decision was made. They knew a lot about the school system and the enrollment procedure, in particular, the importance of grades, so they invested considerable efforts in improving their children’s grades.

In addition to increased study efforts at home, these parents also interacted with teachers to ensure teachers knew what track recommendation they expected and thus what grades their children needed.

However, based on the accounts they provided in the interviews, it seemed parents were unaware of what they were doing when communicating with teachers. The only thing they commonly mentioned was how well they got along with the teachers.

Therefore, the interaction between teachers and higheducated parents may best be described as a tacit, subtle, and long-term process of wordless understanding, with teachers anticipating what these parents wanted and delivering it. (Dumont et al. 2019, S. 220; Hervorhebung von mir)

gespräch-2894828_1920
Rechtzeitige Pflege der pädagogischen Landschaft sichert den Schulerfolg der Kinder. Quelle: Pixabay

Bei nicht so gebildeten Eltern läuft das anders

Even though low-educated parents also actively sought the best for their children, their interactions with teachers about grades and track recommendations started rather late during elementary school and were more direct and confrontational than those ofhigh-educated parents. (Dumont et al. 2019, S. 220)

Bestätigung von Bourdieus Theorie des sozialen Kapitals

Based on our qualitative analyses, we found that parents’ cultural and social capital (Bourdieu 1986) also matters tremendously for the transition into secondary-school tracks. Our findings regarding the tacit understanding between teachers and high-educated parents suggest parents’ embodied cultural capital—the most subtle form of capital—may be particularly important. Parents’ social capital also matters to the extent that higheducated parents know a lot more about the school system through their networks with other parents and their own involvement in the school. (Dumont et al. 2019, S. 221)

In Deutschland bestehen die Ungleichheiten nach wie vor – trotz zunehmender Öffnung der Bildungsgänge

Indeed, the early and high stratification in the German system makes it easier for parents from high-SES backgrounds to secure certain advantages for their children. Despite the increasing openness of the system, recent studies analyzing students’ trajectories throughout secondary school show that social inequalities at the transition point into secondary school persist, as it is mostly high-SES students (and their parents) who are making use of increased opportunities to correct track decisions (Buchholz and Schier 2015; Glaesser and Cooper 2011). (Dumont et al. 2019, S. 222)

Literatur

Dumont, H., Klinge, D. & Maaz, K. (2019). The Many (Subtle) Ways Parents Game the System: Mixed-method Evidence on the Transition into Secondary-school Tracks in Germany. Sociology of Education 92 (2), 199–228. doi:10.1177/0038040719838223

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