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Immigrant children and youths in the German and Israeli educational systems (first transition)

Research Question

This project studies the success of migrant children and youths in the educational systems of Israel and Germany. Education is considered a key resource for social integration into the receiving country. In both countries, educational attainment is closely related to labour market outcomes and general future life opportunities. However, there are considerable inequalities in the educational attainment of immigrants compared to natives. This project investigates the reasons and mechanisms that lead to said inequities (e.g. educational achievement).

In particular, educational transitions (e.g. from primary to secondary school) are important in educational attainment. A successful educational transition depends on various factors. Some factors are structural (e.g. educational system of a country, institutional rules) and others hinge on the individual (e.g. personal abilities, social and cultural resources, access to information and support, as well as values and attitudes). The strategic design as well as the data collected in this project enable us to identify and investigate how far these structural and individual factors contribute to a convergence of ethnic inequalities at certain transition points. Central issues of the study concern educational achievements, future plans and wishes of students and their parents. The question regarding whether these plans were actually realised is also investigated.

Test Language

German, Turkish, Russian and Hebrew

Test Period

  • 18.09.2007 - 25.11.2008 Germany (first wave)
  • 10.2007 - 06.2008 Israel (first wave)

Test Area

Germany and Israel

Target Persons

The target groups of the project in Germany and in Israel are immigrants from the former Soviet Union (Russian Jews in Israel and ethnic Germans - resettlers) as well as native German and Israeli population. In Germany additionally Turkish immigrants were considered.

The project examines children of 4th grade, adolescents of 9th and 10th grade in Germany and adolescents of the 9th and 11th grade in Israel and their mothers.

Population / Sample


The basic population covers all students attending grade 4 of primary schools as well as students attending grade 9 and 10 of one of the following secondary school forms: Lower secondary schools, intermediate secondary schools, combined lower and intermediate secondary schools, compulsory schools and combined lower, intermediate and upper secondary schools. The secondary school forms upper secondary school (“Gymnasium”), schools for special needs (as “Förderschule”) and private schools were excluded from the sampling population.
Furthermore, only students of the four groups of interest are part of the sampling population: Native Germans, Ethnic Germans from the FSU, Turkish Origin or Jewish Quota Refugees from the FSU.

Students (FSU immigrants and Mizrabi and Ashkenazi Israelis) in 4th, 9th and 11th grades, from Hebrew (rather than Arabic) non-religious public schools in towns and cities with more than 10,000 residents taken from the Ministry of Education student file.

Sample Size

n = 4,888 target persons

Survey Procedure and Instruments

In order to investigate education transitions precisely, the students and their mothers were interviewed twice. The first survey was conducted through personal interviews and surveys at schools during the school year before the transition.

1. Household Survey:
children: Face-to-face interview
mothers: Face-to-face interview?

2. School survey:
children and adolescents: Face-to-face interview: PAPI (paper and pencil Interview)
mothers: Face-to-face interview or Telephone Interview: CATI (Computer Assisted Telephone Interview)

Household Survey: Face-to-face interview with children and adolescents and their mothers

Link to the Detailed Description of the Study

Persistent Identifier


Data Accessible via Research Data Centre

GESIS – Leibniz-Institute for the Social Sciences

Information about the user conditions can be found here:


GESIS Team Datenservice
Phone: +49 221 / 476 94 - 420
Email: datenservice.das[at]

Related Data

  • Immigrant children and youths in the German and Israeli educational systems (second transition)
  • Immigrant children and youths in the German and Israeli educational systems (third transition)
  • Regulation of biographical transitions in second generation immigrants in Germany and Israel (link)
  • Identity Development and Value Transmission among Veteran and Migrant Adolescents and Their Families in Germany and Israel: Life Transitions and Contexts (link)
  • Language acquisition as a window to social integration among Russian language minority children in Germany and Israel (link)

Research Area(s)