Recent developments in school tracking practices in Germany: An overview and an empirical example from a de-tracking reform


26 May 2015, 15:00 – 16:00

Michael Becker, Hanna Dumont, & Marko Neumann

Grouping students into different learning groups according to their ability levels (ability grouping) is a nearly universal feature of secondary school structures. Explicit school tracking, i.e. providing different school types according to different levels of ability, is one of the ways how ability grouping is realized in school systems. Germany is a prominent example for this type of ability grouping (Maaz, Trautwein, Lüdtke & Baumert, 2008). Nevertheless, in the recent decade(s) this feature of secondary school structures was subject to substantial discussion and changes. As a result, German states (“Länder”) differ in the extent in which explicit tracking is implemented. The presentation gives an overview of specific structures and changes of tracking practices in Germany. Furthermore, it gives, as a prototypical example for recent trends, insights into a specific school structure reform in Berlin, which contains as main elements a reduction of school types and improved options in acquiring higher educational qualifications in non-academic school tracks. First empirical results from a multi-cohort longitudinal evaluation study on this reform will be presented focusing on effects on social disparities at the transition from primary to secondary school.

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