Thursday, December 17, 2015

Backpacks and belonging: What school can mean to immigrant students

by Marilyn Achiron 
Editor, Education and Skills Directorate

How school systems respond to immigration has an enormous impact on the economic and social well-being of all members of the communities they serve, whether they have an immigrant background or not. Immigrant Students at School: Easing the Journey towards Integration reveals some of the difficulties immigrant students encounter – and some of the contributions they offer – as they settle into their new communities and new schools.

Results from the OECD Programme for International Student Assessment (PISA) indicate that students with an immigrant background tend to perform worse in school than students without an immigrant background. Several factors are associated with this disparity, including the concentration of disadvantage in the schools immigrant students attend, language barriers and certain school policies, like grade repetition and tracking, that can hinder immigrant students’ progress through school.

But successful integration is measured in more than academic achievement; immigrant students’ well-being and hopes for the future are just as telling. This report examines not only immigrant students’ aspirations and sense of belonging at school, but also recent trends in Europeans’ receptiveness to welcoming immigrants into their own countries – the context that could make all the difference in how well immigrant students integrate into their new communities. The report includes a special section on refugees and education, and an extensive discussion on education policy responses to immigration.


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