Title of Product
How do immigrant students fare in disadvantaged schools?
Name of Author(s)
PISA in Focus 2011/12
Name of Producer
PISA in Focus 2011/12 November OECD 2012
Language of the review
Language of the product
Type of product
Integration of immigrants students
Description of Contents
This article deals with a very complex problem: the integration of immigrant students in the schools of the host country. Most immigrant students have to overcome multiple barriers in order to succeed at school. The edition of PISA in Focus shows that of all the obstacles to success these students must surmount, the concentration of socio-economic disadvantage at school is among the most strongly related to poor performance. Most immigrants leave their countries in search of better economic prospects. In the host country immigrants often live in communities where people have the same culture, same language and same socio-economic status. Their children often attend the same schools that have large proportions of immigrant students and, in most cases, are more socio-economically deprived than other schools. Poor student performance, particularly among immigrant students , is most strongly related to the proportion of students in a school whose mothers have low levels of education. (A low educated mother is a mother who has not attained an upper secondary education and this is a measure of socio-economic disadvantage). This finding suggests that immigrants students face a major obstacle to success at school when they are concentrated in schools attended by students who face similar socio-economic disadvantage. On the contrary the results indicate that it is not the proportion of immigrant students or the proportion of those who speak a different language that is most strongly associated with poor performance. That means that socio-economical disadvantage and immigrant integration are closely linked.
This document is based on an analysis from PISA 2009 that considers many countries (for example United Kingdom, Germany, New Zealand) and three types of schools: those with the highest concentrations of immigrant students, those with the highest concentration of immigrant students who speak a different language at home than the language of instruction at school, and those with the highest concentration of students whose mothers have low levels of education. The result indicates that low performance, particularly (but non only), among immigrant students is most strongly related to the high concentration of socio-economical disadvantage in school. All students, especially immigrant students, face a major obstacle to success at school when they are concentrated in schools attended by students who face similar socio-economic disadvantage. National and local policy would operate in two directions: to encourage school attended by students who come from different countries and reduce the concentration of disadvantage in individual schools. This conclusion is highly transferable and applicable to almost every student in every country, especially to immigrant students. The high concentration of disadvantage makes it difficult to achieve brilliant performances and levels of participation and chances of academic success are lowest among young people from deprived neighbourhoods.