Jörg Dollmann
Ethnic inequality in choice‐ and performance‐driven education systems: A longitudinal study of educational choices in England, Germany, the Netherlands, and Sweden

British Journal of Sociology, 2021: 72, issue 4, pp. 974-991
ISSN: 0007-1315 (print), 1468-4446 (online)

The motivation for this article was the main finding of an earlier study, which concludes that choice-driven education systems—in the study represented by England and Sweden—are particularly beneficial for immigrants in that they provide them with many opportunities to pursue their generally high educational ambitions. We extend this analysis by including two countries with performance-driven education systems: Germany and the Netherlands. Our study specifically aims to explore whether it is true that choice-driven systems are more beneficial for immigrants or whether immigrants can also succeed in more stratified and selective education systems. Using longitudinal data from the Children of Immigrants Longitudinal Survey in Four European Countries (CILS4EU), we show that there are no differences in (gross) transition rates between immigrants and natives in Germany, the Netherlands, and Sweden, but immigrants' optimistic choices are more pronounced in England. However, these differences diminish once we account for achievement and students' socioeconomic background in the analyses. Regarding the underlying mechanisms, we find that educational aspirations have an (equally) strong, universal impact, while anticipated discrimination plays a minor role.