Heterogeneity and Inequality

Call for Papers


Educational systems differ in how they deal with the heterogeneity of the student body. For example, the degree of organizational differentiation and stratification (tracking) can differ greatly depending on the school or place of residence as well as between countries. In addition to ability tracking, different types of internal differentiation are used to meet the different needs of children and young students in the acquisition of knowledge and competences. However, since tracking and different types of internal differentiation directly affect skill development and further educational attainment, these measures can both reduce and exacerbate inequalities. Policy measures designed to include specific groups of students might unintentionally lead to even higher levels of exclusion. Besides, existing institutional arrangements can directly contribute to a strengthening of educational inequalities by excluding certain groups of pupils from additional remedial education or by restricting educational options, by imposing strict admission requirements.

Authors are invited to submit proposals that focus on the relationship between heterogeneity and educational inequalities at different educational levels including vocational education and training. We especially invite proposals that address the following research questions:

  1. How can we quantify and compare the inclusiveness or exclusiveness of cantonal (differences between and within language regions) or country specific educational systems at different educational levels?
  2. What measures that are aimed to include specific groups of students are (in)effective, when and for whom? Do we observe that institutional regulations are designed in such a way as to unintentionally exclude certain groups of pupils from remedial teaching or educational programs?
  3. What are the effects of tracking and different types of internal differentiation regarding skill development, educational attainment, and returns to education? How do these aspects relate to intended and unintended consequences of educational policies?
  4. How are tracking and types of internal differentiation interrelated with educational aspirations, decisions and attainment at different educational levels and what differences are observed for different groups of students in terms of social origin, gender and migration background?

In addition, contributions in the field of sociology of education that do not explicitly refer to the listed research questions are welcome as well.


The conference will take place over 2 days (Thursday morning to Friday afternoon). We invite social scientists to contribute to the conference with:

- paper presentations (approx. 15 minutes presentation plus 10 minutes of discussion), or


The conference language is English.

Papers should focus on topics mentioned above under "Theme".

Submission & Deadline

A structured abstract of a maximum of 600 words should cover Background (context of the study), Purpose and Theory (main research aims/questions, theoretical framework), Design and Methods (study design and methods, including dates of data collection, sampling method, methods of data collection and analysis), Results (main findings in relation to the research aims/questions), and Conclusions (drawn from the research). The deadline for submitting abstracts is 14 April 2020. Please submit your abstracts via ConfTool at https://www.conftool.com/soceduc.

After a double-blind peer review procedure, you will be notified whether your paper has been accepted by 1 June 2020.

Registration Fee: CHF 20 (conference dinner not included)