In most countries, first-generation immigrant students (students born outside the destination country whose parents were also born outside that country) perform worse than students without an immigrant background, and second-generation immigrant students (those born in the destination country to parents who were born outside of the country) perform somewhere between the two. Although many immigrant students perform relatively poorly compared to non-immigrant students, they can perform at high levels by international standards. As the figure also shows, the performance of immigrant students differs widely across countries. The performance gap between first-generation immigrant students and students without an immigrant background tends to be wider in reading than in mathematics or problem solving. This suggests that language barriers to text comprehension may be key in explaining performance differences between these two groups of students.
Where do immigrant students fare better? Immigrant students tend to perform better in PISA in countries with highly selective immigration policies. But while the culture and education students had acquired before migrating have a profound impact on students’ achievement at school, the performance of immigrant students is even more strongly related to the characteristics of the school systems in their host country.
- Category: Policy Papers
- Country: OECD
- Language: English
- Type of file: Text File