This article describes the school careers of Dutch pupils of ethnic minority background in the first 5 years following the transition to secondary education. The database used is VOCL89 of the Dutch Central Statistics Office (CBS). In line with previous findings,in the case of equal achievements pupils of ethnic minority background are advised to select higher types of secondary education than Dutch pupils. Furthermore, pupils of ethnic minority background more often select a school higher than advised than Dutch pupils. With control for social background, pupils of ethnic minority background are also found to display a more favourable career after the 1st year of secondary education. Path model construction results in consistently positive effects of ethnic minority origin at every transition. Further analysis demonstrates that even the most vulnerable subgroups of pupils of ethnic minority background, the Turkish and Moroccan pupils born in their motherland, show both absolutely and compared with the advice a career on a higher level than Dutch pupils with a similar social background. A point of discussion concerns the extent to which social background, defined as the parental educational level, refers to the same concept for Dutch people and people belonging to ethnic minority groups.
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