Academic Achievement and Ethnic Minorities in England
Department of Political and Social Sciences University Pompeu Fabra (Barcelona) Barcelona, Spain
Empirical studies have generally painted a negative picture of the academic achievement of children from minorities of immigrant origin. A valuable source of data for capturing this phenomenon at the cross-national level has been the Programme for International Students Assessment (PISA), which has allowed researchers to detect substantive differences in the width of the gap across countries. However, the main drawback of cross-national data is that it does not permit assessment of the differences between ethnic groups due their small sample size. Moreover, studies made at national level have shown disparate levels of educational achievement across ethnic groups; interestingly enough, some of these are even performing better than natives.
In my research I am interested in capturing the mechanisms that account for the differences in academic performance between children of different immigrant minorities and between these and natives. Particularly, I am focusing on the case of England using the Longitudinal Study of Young People in England. In a later stage of my thesis, I will include the case of Spain, where a similar survey, in which I am collaborating on the design, is currently being developed. A cross-national comparison like between England and Spain will allow me to grasp the influence of macro variables such as the educational system, something that would not be possible in a single country study.
The paper I would like to present in the conference corresponds to the first article of my thesis. In this first paper I tackle the school effects on the educational performance through a multilevel analysis. At the same time, I try to see if the most common reported explanatory factors (particularly the socio-economic background) have a different effect upon each ethnic minority?s children. Especial attention will be paid to the interactions between individual level variables and macro level factors, such as the neighborhood environment or the degree of social cohesion between the members of each ethnic minority. These interactions will probably shed light on the unknown mechanisms that account for the differentials in educational achievement across ethnic minorities and between those and natives.