Effects of social origin, interests, personality traits, and competences on educational decisions and educational attainment

Inspired by findings of the PISA 2000 study on social disparities in educational participation and competence attainment in Germany, BiKS-8-14 allowed for important contributions to the research on educational decisions and educational success, mostly covering educational developments from primary school to the end of secondary school. In addition, it could have been assumed within the scope of the German education system, however, that the different educational careers and decisions in the course of secondary education and the vocational training system were connected with far-reaching consequences for the future life chances.

The goal of BiKSplus [8-18] was therefore to extent the existing longitudinal study BiKS-8-14 for another three years. From a sociological and psychological perspective, we focused mainly on educational careers of high-school students to the next key decision threshold, namely the transition into university or vocational training system. Based on the students who had moved already at the end of secondary education in the vocational training system, however, the reliability of the educational decisions already taken were considered. Exploiting the existing longitudinal data base, BiKSplus [8-18] focused on the study of the long-term developments of individual personality traits, competence beliefs and interest groups, and the question to what extent educational aspirations and decisions can be explained by the development of these factors. With BiKSplus [8-18], it was not only possible to exhaustively examine educational decisions that were already made, but rather to adequately capture and explain the antecedent processes of these decisions.

We would like to thank the participating young people, their parents and teachers, the school boards as well as the ministries of culture for their support and cooperation, without which this study would not have been possible.