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Session Overview
RN10_10c_IC: Migration and Education II
Friday, 01/Sep/2017:
2:00pm - 3:30pm

Session Chair: Mariagrazia Santagati, Catholic University of Sacred Heart
Location: Intercontinental - Athenaeum CC III
Athenaeum Intercontinental Hotel Syngrou Avenue 89-93 Athens, Greece Floor: Lobby Level

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Under What Conditions Do Immigrant Children Do Well in School?

Paula Andreea Tufiș1, Monica Șerban2, Mădălina Manea1

1Department of Sociology and Social Work, University of Bucharest; 2Research Institute for the Quality of Life, Romanian Academy

Previous studies have shown that immigrant children’s academic achievement differs both across origin and destination countries, and that there are important predictors of achievement at multiple levels of the analysis: individual, school, community, and country levels. The ways in which these factors operate lead to gaps in educational achievement between children with an immigration background and native children. We use the PISA 2012 data on mathematics achievements of students in European countries to explore under which conditions immigrant children seem to do better in school. We draw on ideas from research on the academic achievements of children, in general: that the way parents interact with schools is an important factor that can enhance children’s academic success, that the child’s peers may be an important resource in motivating children to do well in school and that both cognitive and non-cognitive traits of children may influence their success. We also draw on ideas from research in the sociology of migration and examine influences of factors that are specific to the migration process. Our preliminary results show that in most countries, immigrant children have lower mathematics test scores compared to their native peers and the size of the gap varies by country. However, it is not necessarily the case that immigrant children’s families have less access to resources that are usually considered beneficial for educational attainment. Given this, we ask what are the most important factors that explain the existing gap in educational achievement.

Immigrant integration opportunities in comparative context, and the changing role of education

Dionysios Gouvias

University of the Aegean, Greece

One of the most influential form of comparative assessment of teenagers over the past decade, has been the OECD’s PISA programme. During its successive stages (from 2003 to 2015), the PISA programme has shown –among other interesting things— that immigrant students score considerably lower than students without an immigrant background. However, immigrant students are not a homogenous group, which is based only on their place of birth, since their educational and occupational ‘pathways’ are shaped by the interplay between economic, cultural and social “capital” of their family, and numerous other personal characteristics (gender, IQ level etc.) and structural properties (e.g. sectoral structure of the economy) of their place of place of living. Given the --evident from sociological studies-- mediating role of familial “capital”, especially that of “economic” and “cultural capital”, on student achievement, we will use variables that correspond to parental “socio‑economic status” (SES) and “educational level”, to draw some preliminary conclusions about their strength and direction of association with immigrants’ achievement (overall and subject-specific) in the PISA testing.

Using cross-sectional data from successive rounds of the PISA assessment, we will try to evaluate

1. the actual change in performance of immigrant teenagers (i.e. 15-year olds) across time;

2. the between-countries differences in the change of performance across time;

3. the within-countries differences in the change of performance across time;

4. the correlation between immigrant students’ performance in PISA and their parental SES and education;

5. the change in the above correlations, across time and countries.

Unjustified Optimism: Beliefs about Higher Education Payoffs among Immigrant-Origin Upper Secondary School-Leavers in Italy

Giancarlo Gasperoni, Debora Mantovani, Marco Albertini

University of Bologna, Italy - Dept. Political and Social Science

This paper addresses perceptions of expected incomes associated with tertiary education degrees among a sample of last-year upper secondary school students. Data collection was performed during the 2013/14 school year. More specifically, we investigate the expected incomes associated with university degrees in the specific fields of study in which respondents state an intent to enrol. Preliminary results suggest that immigrant-origin youths, and especially first generations, expected higher incomes than their Italian peers. The paper will focus primarily on how pay-off expectations vary among immigrants and natives, but also how these variations relate to other potentially pertinent explanatory factors, such as social origins, gender, prior school performance, as well as variables involving higher education aspirations: field of study, determination to enrol, length of degree programme, beliefs about the link between tertiary degrees and job prospects. Also, earning expectations will be compared to respondents’ estimates of higher education costs, expected income in case of no further education and actual incomes earned by Italian university graduates – in order to ascertain the degree of (over)estimation of the income premium youths associate with higher education. Data is drawn from a sample of approximately 9,000 students, approximately 600 of whom have an immigrant background.

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