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Migration Background and School Tracking: Is there a Double Disadvantage for Second-Generation Immigrants?

Elke Luedemann, Guido Schwerdt
Ifo Institute for Economic Research, Germany

Research on educational disadvantages of second-generation immigrants largely focuses on differences in student achievement tests. Exploiting data from the German PIRLS Extension, we provide evidence that second-generation immigrants face an additional disadvantage when tracked into different types of secondary school. We find that second-generation immigrants are less likely to receive a teacher recommendation for a higher school track. This difference cannot be attributed to differences in test scores or general intelligence alone. To the extent that school track attendance affects future educational outcomes, migrant-native test score gaps underestimate educational inequalities in tracked school systems.

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