20 SES 11, The Impact of Migration on Learning
Parallel Paper Session
The increasing number of immigrant children has made the achievement gap between immigrant and native students in schools of receiving countries a pressing research topic. The results of several international comparative studies have shown that, in Western European countries, immigrant youth perform more poorly than native youth (e.g. Artelet et al., 2001; Baumert et al., 2004; Bos et al., 2003; Prenzel et al., 2004, 2007; Stanat & Christensen, 2006). The low achievement of immigrant youth is due to a variety of factors, including individual factors (gender, ethnicity, generation status of immigrants, language barriers, etc.), family-related factors (the family’s socio-cultural and socio-economic capital, parental expectations and support, etc.), and institutional factors (curriculum, selection practices, instructional designs of the lessons, teachers’ expectations, etc.). Numerous studies have shown the relevance of those factors for immigrant students’ achievement (e.g. Lee, 2002; Lee & Bowen, 2006; Muller et al., 2001; Pearce, 2006; Parker et al., 2005; Riegle-Crumb, 2006), but there is a lack of empirical evidence on the role and impact of acculturation outcomes on school achievement.
The term acculturation refers to immigrants’ adaptation in the host country where “first-hand contact” (Redfield, Linton, & Herskovits, 1936) may lead to behavioral and attitudinal changes among individuals of different cultural heritage. The most common conceptualization of acculturation in contemporary research is bi-dimensional and entails that it is possible to maintain or avoid the culture of the host society and – simultaneously, but not necessarily in the same way or to the same degree – retain or lose the culture of origin (e.g. Berry, 1990). This bi-dimensionality of the acculturation process may lead to four different acculturation strategies, i.e. integration, assimilation, separation, and marginalization (i.e. Berry, 2003). Research has shown that an integration strategy is positively related and a marginalization strategy is negatively related to the immigrants’ adaptation to the host society (i.e. Berry, Phinney, Sam, & Vedder, 2006), while assimilation and separation strategies have been found to have only a moderate influence on immigrant adaptation (Berry, 2006). With respect to the school context, Vedder & van Geel (2011) suggest that immigrant youth’s acculturation attitudes are strongly related to their adaptation in school. Thus, among immigrant youth with high socio-economic status, ethnic maintenance was strongly related to fewer behavioral problems and a stronger involvement in school, and an orientation towards the national culture was positively related to adaptation for youth of both low and high socio-economic status.
Thus, the aim of this study is to examine the impact of immigrant youth’s acculturation attitudes on their school achievement. Based on evidence from previous research, other individual characteristics (gender, age, generation status of immigrants, and ethnicity) and family-related factors (socio-cultural capital and socio-economic status of the family) will be included in the model in order to predict the achievement of immigrant youth in both the instructional language and mathematics.
Berry, J. W. (2003). Conceptual approaches to acculturation. In K. M.Chun, P. B. Organista, & G. Marin, (Eds.), Acculturation: Advances in theory, measurement, and applied research (pp. 17-38). Washington: APA. Berry, J. W., et al. (Eds.) (2006). Immigrant youth in cultural transition. Acculturation, identity, and adaptation across national contexts. Mahwah, NJ: Lawrence Erlbaum. Lee, J. (2002). Racial and Ethnic Achievement Gap Trends: Reversing the Progress Toward Equity? Educational Researcher, 31 (1), 3-12. Lee, J.-S. & Bowen, N. K. (2006). Parent Involvement, Cultural Capital, and the Achievement Gap Among Elementary School Children, American Educational Research Journal, 43(2), 193-218. Muller, P. A.; et al. (2001). Science Achievement Growth Trajectories: Understanding Factors Related to Gender and Racial-Ethnic Differences in Precollege Science Achievement. American Educational Research Journal, 38 (4), 981-1012. Okagaki, L. (1998). Parenting and Children’s School Achievement: A Multiethnic Perspective. American Educational Research Journal, 35(1), 123-144. Parker, S. W.; et al. (2005). Schooling Inequality and Language Barriers, Economic Development and Cultural Change, 54(1), 71-94. Pearce, R. R. (2006). Effects of Cultural and Social Structural Factors on the Achievement of White and Chinese American Students at School Transition Points. American Educational Research Journal, 43(1), 75-101. Redfield, R., Linton, R., & Herskovits, M. J. (1936). Memorandum for the study of acculturation. American Anthropologist, 38, 149-152. Riegle-Crumb, C. (2006). The Path through Math: Course Sequences and Academic Performance at the Intersection of Race-Ethnicity and Gender. American Journal of Education, 113, 101-122. Vedder, P. & van Geel, G. (2011). Students' acculturation preferences and school related adaptation outcomes; the contextual dependency of the acculturation-adaptation link in immigrant youth in the Netherlands. Paper presented at the IACCP regional conference, Istanbul/Turkey, June 30 - July 3.
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