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Educational Achievement of Immigrant Children in Western Countries: Origin, Destination, and Community Effects on Mathematical Performance

Listed author(s):
  • Levels, Mark
  • Dronkers, Jaap Dronkers
  • Kraaykamp, Gerbert

This paper explores the extent to which macro-level characteristics of destination countries, origin countries and immigrant communities can explain differences in the educational achievement of immigrant children. Using data from the 2003 PISA survey, we performed analyses on the mathematical performance of 7403 pupils with a background of immigration from 35 different origin countries in 13 Western countries of destination. Our cross-classified multilevel analyses show that cross-national and cross-group variance cannot be fully explained by compositional differences. Contextual properties of host countries, origin countries and communities also affect the educational performance of immigrant children. We show that the better educational performance of immigrant children in traditional immigrant receiving countries can be explained by strict immigration laws. We further find that the level of economic development of origin countries negatively affects immigrant children’s educational performance, and that children who have a background in more politically stable countries, perform better at school. Finally, we find that socioeconomic differences between immigrant communities and the native population and relative community size negatively affect immigrant children’s scholastic achievement.

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Paper provided by University Library of Munich, Germany in its series MPRA Paper with number 21653.

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Date of creation: 2006
Publication status: Published in American Sociological Review 5.73(2008): pp. 835-853
Handle: RePEc:pra:mprapa:21653
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  1. Bauer, Thomas K. & Lofstrom, Magnus & Zimmermann, Klaus F., 2000. "Immigration Policy, Assimilation of Immigrants and Natives' Sentiments towards Immigrants: Evidence from 12 OECD-Countries," IZA Discussion Papers 187, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  2. Beck, Thorsten & Clarke, George & Groff, Alberto & Keefer, Philip & Walsh, Patrick, 2000. "New tools and new tests in comparative political economy - the database of political institutions," Policy Research Working Paper Series 2283, The World Bank.
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