More Private Schools for Nonnative Students? Migrant Performance in Private Schools of Differing National Contexts
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AbstractMigrant children from most countries are disadvantaged in school. We investigate which characteristics of both school and societal contexts influence the achievements of migrant students. We argue that living conditions and inequality in a society as a whole may affect the chances of minority members and the function that private schools perform in the process of social reproduction of inequality. We investigate in particular the question of whether migrant students attending private schools show a better performance than those attending public schools. The analyses of the paper are based on the data collected in the PISA 2006 survey. Our main results are that the lower mathematics and reading competencies of migrant students can partly be explained by the socioeconomic status and cultural capital of the family and—to a marginal degree—by school characteristics. Initially, students in private independent schools have some advantages that disappear after controlling for country attributes. In both fields of knowledge, migrants obtain better results in private government-dependent schools (interaction effect); this, however, can be traced back to their families' socioeconomic origin and cultural capital. We detect that students in private independent schools reach lower competency levels in wealthier societies (GNP).