Immigrant Children, School Type, and Their Academic Performance in Highly Differentiated School Systems: Austria, Belgium, and Germany

Hyunjoon Park, University of Pennsylvania
Pearl Kyei, Population Council

A recent international survey of student achievement shows that underachievement of immigrant students relative to their native peers is particularly considerable in such European countries as Austria, Belgium, and Germany that have highly differentiated school systems where students are sorted at early ages into different types of schools with varying curricular and prospect for higher education. Considering between-school tracking as an important mechanism through which immigrant-native gap diverges, we examine whether immigrant disadvantage in attending high-status (academic-oriented) schools is consistently found across Austria, Belgium, and Germany using the PISA data of 15-year-old students. Multinomial logit regression shows that in all three countries, immigrant students, especially first-generation, are more likely to attend low-status schools than their native peers, even after controlling for various socioeconomic background variables. Furthermore, we examine the extent to which difference in the likelihood of attending high-status schools accounts for immigrant-native performance gaps in reading, math, and science.

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Presented in Session 118: Educational Achievement and Attainment