The association between social background and participation in higher education is well documented. Even under control of school performances, an above-average proportion of children from academic families decide to study, whereas children from non-academic families are significantly under-represented in institutions of higher education. The opportunity of studying depends to a high degree on the education status of the parents, so that access to college or university constitutes another selection threshold in our educational system.
The initiative ‘ArbeiterKind.de’, founded in 2008, pursues the objective of decreasing social inequalities at this threshold by exploiting the full potential of students with qualifications for higher education. ‘ArbeiterKind.de’ supports in particular students from non-academic families to reduce their disadvantages on grounds of information gaps or the lack of familiarity with higher education systems.
Against the backdrop of educational inequalities we are interested in how ‘ArbeiterKind.de’ becomes effective at the transition to higher education and what contribution does the initiative make to increase the opportunity of studying for children from non-academic families. The main research questions of the evaluation study are:
- How do students' academic and vocational orientations develop during the time of transition?
- How are the support activities evaluated, and what is the impact on students’ decision to study?
- To what extent does ‘ArbeiterKind.de’ succeed in reaching the target group of students from non-academic families?
Based on a longitudinal study and qualitative interviews the project aims at examining the success of the support activities for reducing social selectivity at the transition to higher education.