Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin - Berlin Institute for Empirical Integration and Migration Research (BIM)

Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin | BIM | Departments | Education and Integration

Education and Integration


We determine how teaching and learning in the immigration society can succeed and look for approaches to improve educational integration.

Opportunities and challenges of migration-related diversity in the German education system


About one third of learners in the German education system come from families with a migration history. Many of these children and adolescents are well integrated in the education system. They acquire the skills that are required for qualified degrees, are motivated learners, feel comfortable in school and are well-liked by their peers. However, children and adolescents from immigrant families are on average still less successful in the German education system than their peers from majority families. This applies particularly to first generation immigrants. Under what conditions do immigrants and their descendants succeed in their educational integration? What factors hinder this process? And how can we effectively support this process?


Conditions for successful educational integration


The department “Education and Integration” investigates individual, family-related and institutional conditions that influence the success but also the emotional and social adjustment of children and adolescents with a migration history within the German education system. We also determine factors that support their emotional and social adaptation. For instance, at the individual and family level, we study the role of language competencies in the first and second language, of students’ social origin, and cultural identity. In addition, we examine how teachers, peers, and structural characteristics of the education system affect the educational development of children and adolescents with and without a migration history. Here, we explore teacher stereotypes and teacher expectations as well as discrimination processes and social relations in the classroom. Another key question are individual and institutional conditions of the educational integration of refugee children and adolescents. We also investigate approaches to promote educational integration, especially language support programs.


We take on a perspective that considers society as a whole. Therefore, our focus is not exclusively on learners from immigrant families. The overarching goal of our research is to contribute to an objective discussion on integration in the education system through well-founded research and to improve teaching and learning processes in ethnically and linguistically diverse contexts.

Multidisciplinary and multimethod approach

We combine psychological, sociological and educational perspectives. We exploit large-scale data and apply, when possible, longitudinal designs. We also conduct video and intervention studies to analyze educational processes more profoundly and to determine effects of interventions. To summarize the current state of research and to specify the conditions under which certain effects occur, we use meta-analytical approaches. Our quantitative-empirical focus is complemented by qualitative approaches.

Recent publications


  • Boda, Z., Lorenz, G., Jansen, M., Stanat, P. & Edele, A. (2023). Ethnic diversity fosters the social integration of refugee students. Nature Human Behaviour.
  • Edele, A., Seuring, J., Schotte, K., Kristen, C., Stanat, P. (2023). Is the First Language a Resource, an Obstacle, or Irrelevant for Language Minority Students' Education?. In: Weinert, S., Blossfeld, G.J., Blossfeld, HP. (eds) Education, Competence Development and Career Trajectories. Methodology of Educational Measurement and Assessment. Springer, Cham.
  • Schotte, K., Rjosk, C., Edele, A., Hachfeld, A. & Stanat, P. (2022). Do teachers’ cultural beliefs really matter for students’ school adaptation? A multilevel analysis of students’ academic achievement and psychological school adjustment. Social Psychology of Education, 25, 75–112.
  • Winkler, O., Jansen, M. & Edele, A. (2022). Warum gibt es in Ostdeutschland weniger einwanderungsbezogene Bildungsungleichheit? Bedingungen der Bildungsbeteiligung und Lesekompetenz von Heranwachsenden mit Einwanderungsgeschichte in Ost- und Westdeutschland [Why is there less immigration-related educational inequality in East Germany? Conditions of educational participation and reading literacy of immigrant adolescents in East and West Germany]. Zeitschrift für Soziologie, 51(2), 131-153.
  • Edele, A., & Stanat, P. (im Druck). Zuwanderung und soziale Ungleichheit [Immigration and social inequality]. In H. Reinders, D. Bergs-Winkels, A. Prochnow & I. Post. (Hrsg.), Lehrbuch Empirische Bildungsforschung: Eine elementare Einführung. Wiesbaden: VS Verlag für Sozialwissenschaften.



Current research projects


National Educational Panel Study (NEPS), sub-study on the language competencies of students with a migration background.

Duration: 01/2023 – 12/2027
Heads/Principal Investigators: Prof. Dr. Petra Stanat, Prof. Dr. Aileen Edele
Research Associate: Louisa Groß-Hardt
Funding: Leibniz-Institut für Bildungsverläufe (LIfBi)

Project Description
The National Educational Panel Study (NEPS) investigates educational processes and competence development from early childhood to late adulthood in a longitudinal study. This project is located at the Institute for Quality Development in Education (IQB).

Within the educational panel, there is a specific perspective on "educational attainment of individuals with a migration background across the lifespan", which focuses on capturing educationally relevant migration-specific characteristics. A focus on lifelong educational processes is the assessment of the knowledge and competencies of students in the language of the parents' country of origin, as characteristics of first and second language acquisition are central explanatory dimensions for educational and labor market success. Other focuses include family language/heritage language and language use in different contexts.

Racist Discrimination in Schools (subproject of FoDiRa)

Duration: 04/2022 – 09/2024
Heads/Principal Investigators: Prof. Dr. Aileen Edele & Dr. Christian Hunkler
Research Associate: Sophie Harms
Collaborators: Prof. Dr. Sebastian Otten, Dr. Julia Bredtmann
Funding: BMFSFJ (Federal Ministry for Family Affairs, Senior Citizens, Women and Youth)

Project Description

In this sub-project of the research joint Discrimination and Racism (FoDiRa), we investigate if children and adolescents belonging to an ethnic or religious minority are structurally disadvantaged in school. In module 1, we conduct an empirical analysis to test if teachers systematically mark the performances of students who belong to an ethnic or religious minority lower than the performances of majority students. In module 2, we carry out a broad meta-analysis about disparities in grading in the German context in order to make a comprehensive perspective on the phenomenon possible. In module 3, we focus on the underlying processes and investigate via video analysis if teachers behave differently towards children from different ethnic backgrounds in their classes.

The overarching goal of the project is to generate insights about the question of whether ethnic and racist discrimination processes can help explain the educational disadvantages of children from families with an immigration history. The research questions are being investigated by an interdisciplinary team, integrating perspectives from psychology, educational and social sciences as well as economics.


Advancement of Russian and Turkish competence tests for the objective assessment of language competence in students with corresponding migration backgrounds in the NEPS starting cohort 8.

Duration: 02/2021 – 01/2025
Heads/Principal Investigators: Prof. Dr. Petra Stanat, Prof. Dr. Aileen Edele
Research Associate: Lisa Ann Tinkl
Funding: Leibniz-Institut für Bildungsverläufe (LIfBi)

Project Description

This project is a sub-project integrated into the National Educational Panel Study (NEPS). Thematically, it is assigned to the NEPS pillar "Educational attainment of individuals with a migration background". The NEPS collects longitudinal data on competence development, educational processes, and educational decisions and makes them available to the scientific community for research purposes to learn more about educational attainment, processes, and trajectories across the entire lifespan. For this purpose, six starting cohorts were drawn between 2009 and 2012, which went through various educational stages. Their panel participants were and continue to be regularly surveyed and tested. In 2022, another starting cohort of students was drawn at the beginning of lower secondary school. As part of this cohort, competence tests in the heritage languages of Russian and Turkish will be used on students from the two largest migration groups who are in the sixth grade to determine objectively tested language competencies in addition to subjectively assessed language competencies. The aim of this project is to further develop the listening comprehension test already used in an existing NEPS starting cohort and to expand it with newly developed test tasks. These competence data will enable a comparison of the language competencies of students from both starting cohorts.



* * *