A Multilevel Analysis of Economic Literacy Among International Students

Implications for an International Assessment of Heterogeneous Vulnerable Learner Groups


  • Franziska Reinhardt Johannes Gutenberg University, Germany
  • O. Zlatkin-Troitschanskaia Johannes Gutenberg-University Mainz, Germany https://orcid.org/0000-0002-7431-9538
  • Roland Happ Johannes Gutenberg-University Mainz, Germany
  • Sarah Nell-Müller Johannes Gutenberg-University Mainz, Germany




economic literacy, higher education, refugee students, study-entry diagnostics, TEL


International student mobility has increased in the past years. The inclusion of a highly heterogeneous group of students requires updated recruitment and admission strategies. A particularly vulnerable group of international students are refugees, who have an exceptionally high risk of dropping out of their studies. We present an entrance assessment of incoming international students from 77 countries who are at the beginning of their studies in Germany. Based on this unique sample, we examine (i) whether there are systematic country-specific effects on the economic literacy of beginning students of business and economics and (ii) whether refugee students differ from the group of international students. The results show that refugee students have a higher level of economic literacy although their country-specific prerequisites are worse. Hence, the results highlight the high relevance of an international assessment of heterogeneous vulnerable learner groups to promote their integration into the increasingly internationalized higher education sector.

Author Biographies

Franziska Reinhardt, Johannes Gutenberg University, Germany

Dr. Franziska Reinhardt is a research associate at the Department of Business and Economics Education at the Johannes-Gutenberg-University in Mainz, Germany. Her research focuses on higher education and online education for disadvantaged learner groups. She has published numerous papers on the integration of refugees into higher education.

O. Zlatkin-Troitschanskaia, Johannes Gutenberg-University Mainz, Germany

Prof. Dr. Olga Zlatkin-Troischanskaia is a Professor of Business and Economics Education at Johannes Gutenberg University in Mainz, Germany. Her research focuses on modeling and measuring domain-specific and generic competencies, e.g. in the domains of digital education, teacher education in national and international comparative studies.

Roland Happ, Johannes Gutenberg-University Mainz, Germany

Dr. Roland Happ is a substitute professor of Business and Economics Education at the University of Leipzig. His research interests lies in the modeling of economic and financial literacy of young adults. He has published numerous publications on the relationship between the migration background of young adults and business and economic knowledge.

Sarah Nell-Müller, Johannes Gutenberg-University Mainz, Germany

Dr. Sarah Nell-Müller is a research associate at the Chair of Business and Economics Education of Prof. Olga Zlatkin-Troitschanskaia at the Johannes Gutenberg-University in Mainz, Germany. She focuses on qualitative studies and analyses on the educational pathways of refugees with a study interest.


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How to Cite

Reinhardt, F., Zlatkin-Troitschanskaia, O. ., Happ , R., & Nell-Müller, S. (2021). A Multilevel Analysis of Economic Literacy Among International Students: Implications for an International Assessment of Heterogeneous Vulnerable Learner Groups. Journal of International Students, 11(3), 706–722. https://doi.org/10.32674/jis.v11i3.2718



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