Sanna PohlmannKatharina KluczniokJens Kratzmann

Early or Regular School Enrollment?

How Parents Decide


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In Germany, parents can enroll their children in school before the offi cial school starting age. Exercising this option, however, requires a conscious decision on the part of the parents. Little is known about how parents make this decision and why. This article presents qualitative findings from the longitudinal study BiKS-3-8, which focuses on how parents form decisions regarding school enrollment. Data are collected through interview surveys. For this qualitative survey, a sub-sample of the BiKS total sample (N = 547) was drawn according to three criteria. The sub-sample included 12 girls and 9 boys. Factors infl uencing decision-making were explored through another analytical approach employing a parallel group design (n = 30). The theoretical framework underpinning both approaches drew on value-expectation theory. The two analyses showed that the decision governing early or regular school enrollment presented itself as a perceived fi t between the abilities of the children and the demands of school. For the parents, estimations of their children’s scholastic success, assessment of their children’s abilities, and an image of the type of school the children could or should attend all had a crucial impact on their decisions.

early school enrollment, decision-making process, decision-making factors, success expectation, value-expectation theory

APA citation
Pohlmann, S., Kluczniok, K. & Kratzmann J. (2009). Early or Regular School Enrollment? : How Parents Decide. Journal for Educational Research Online (JERO), 1(1), 135-153.