Family and school effects in the explanation of migrant-native differentials in performance and educational expectations in Spain

Hector Cebolla, Universidad Nacional de Educación a Distancia (UNED)
Amparo Gonzalez-Ferrer, Consejo Superior de Investigaciones Científicas (CSIC)
Yasemin Soysal, University of Essex

We examine the effects of school context on educational outlooks and outcomes of the children of immigrants, in comparison with natives in Spain, an under-represented case in the international literature and a fast growing immigration destination in Europe. Using two recent datasets, 2011 Chances Survey and the Secondary Schooling Evaluation Survey, which cluster students across schools, we investigate the factors that contribute to the migrant-native differentials in school performance and the formation of long-term educational expectations, and propose an explanation to migrant optimism. We look at three dependent variables: Performance is here studied from both an [1] objective (test scores) and [2] subjective perspective (estimation by children and their parents of whether their performance allows to reach tertiary education) and [3] the adjusted educational expectations (controlled for prior performance). Our results reveal the different way that school context works for immigrant and native origin children. Although immigrant children themselves understand the constraints that such disadvantage imposes on their future educational careers, immigrant parents seem to hold on to a rather unrealistic position. This parental optimism in turn seems to boost the career expectation of immigrant children independent of school effects. Thus while school context determines the performance of immigrant origin students to a greater extent than those of natives, the opposite is true for expectations. The formation of aspirations is more family-oriented among immigrants, and thus more positive, than among natives. Whether the long-term educational careers of immigrant children are as successful as they expect is a matter of how they do cognitively in schools, in which there is a greater role for schools to play.

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Presented in Poster Session 2