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Is There a Nativity Gap? New Evidence on the Academic Performance of Immigrant Students

Author

Listed:
  • Amy Ellen Schwartz

    () (Professor of Public Policy, Education and Economics, Steinhardt School of Education and Wagner Graduate School, New York University)

  • Leanna Stiefel

    () (Professor of Economics, Wagner Graduate School, New York University)

Abstract

Public schools across the United States are educating an increasing number and diversity of immigrant students. Unfortunately, little is known about their performance relative to native-born students and the extent to which the “nativity gap” might be explained by school and demographic characteristics. This article takes a step toward filling that void using data from New York City where 17 percent of elementary and middle school students are immigrants. We explore disparities in performance between foreign-born and native-born students on reading and math tests in three ways—using levels (unadjusted scores), “value-added” scores (adjusted for prior performance), and an education production function. While unadjusted levels and value-added measures often indicate superior performance among immigrants, disparities are substantially explained by student and school characteristics. Further, while the nativity gap differs for students from different world regions, disparities are considerably diminished in fully specified models. We conclude with implications for urban schools in the United States. © 2006 American Education Finance Association

Suggested Citation

  • Amy Ellen Schwartz & Leanna Stiefel, 2006. "Is There a Nativity Gap? New Evidence on the Academic Performance of Immigrant Students," Education Finance and Policy, MIT Press, vol. 1(1), pages 17-49, January.
  • Handle: RePEc:tpr:edfpol:v:1:y:2006:i:1:p:17-49
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    Citations

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    Cited by:

    1. Figlio, D. & Karbownik, K. & Salvanes, K.G., 2016. "Education Research and Administrative Data," Handbook of the Economics of Education, Elsevier.
    2. Amy Ellen Schwartz & Leanna Stiefel, 2005. "Public education in the dynamic city: lessons from New York City," Economic Policy Review, Federal Reserve Bank of New York, issue Dec, pages 157-172.
    3. Pia M. Orrenius & Madeline Zavodny, 2015. "Does Immigration Affect Whether US Natives Major in Science and Engineering?," Journal of Labor Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 33(S1), pages 79-108.
    4. Stiefel, Leanna & Schwartz, Amy Ellen & Conger, Dylan, 2010. "Age of entry and the high school performance of immigrant youth," Journal of Urban Economics, Elsevier, vol. 67(3), pages 303-314, May.
    5. Umut Özek & David N. Figlio, 2016. "Cross-Generational Differences in Educational Outcomes in the Second Great Wave of Immigration," NBER Working Papers 22262, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    6. Lin, Eric S. & Lu, Yu-Lung, 2015. "The Educational Achievement of Pupils with Immigrant and Native Mothers: Evidence from Taiwan," IZA Discussion Papers 9435, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).

    More about this item

    Keywords

    immigrant students; academic performance; New York City;

    JEL classification:

    • I20 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Education - - - General
    • I21 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Education - - - Analysis of Education

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