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Mainstream and immigrant students’ primary school mathematics achievement differences in European countries

Abstract

The few studies on the achievement differences of mainstream and immigrant primary school students in large-scale assessments point to an achievement gap in many subject areas, with immigrant students trailing mainstream students. A recurrent methodological problem of these studies is that the two student groups do not come from comparable backgrounds. This study examined the Trends in International Mathematics and Science Study (TIMSS) math achievement of 4th grade mainstream and immigrant students in various European countries. Results showed that there was no systematic difference between first- and second-generation immigrants’ mathematics achievement levels. It was found that after statistically matching the background resources of the mainstream and immigrant students, both groups revealed comparable levels in mathematics. Finally, related to country characteristics that were associated with educational achievement, it was found that immigrant students in countries which had higher human development indicators showed higher educational performance.

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Authors and Affiliations

Authors

Corresponding author

Correspondence to Serkan Arikan.

Additional information

Serkan Arikan. Department of Mathematics Education, Bogazici University, Istanbul, Turkey. Email: serkan.arikan1@boun.edu.tr

Current themes of research:

Factors related to mathematics achievement. Large-scale assessment. Setting proficiency–level descriptions.

Most relevant publications in the field of Psychology of Education:

Arikan, S., van de Vijver, F., Yagmur, K. (2018). Propensity Score Matching Helps to Understand Sources of DIF and Mathematics Performance Differences of Indonesian, Turkish, Australian, and Dutch Students in PISA. International Journal of Research in Education and Science, 4(1), 69-81. doi:10.21890/ijres.382936.

Arikan, S., van de Vijver, F., Yagmur, K. (2017). PISA Mathematics and Reading Performance Differences of Mainstream European and Turkish Immigrant Students. Educational Assessment Evaluation and Accountability, 29(3), 229-246. doi:10.1007/s11092-017-9260-6.

Arikan, S., van de Vijver, F., Yagmur, K. (2016). Factors contributing to mathematics achievement differences of Turkish and Australian Students in TIMSS 2007 and 2011. Eurasia Journal of Mathematics, Science and Technology Education, 12(8), 2039-2059. doi:10.12973/eurasia.2016.1268a.

Fons J. R. van de Vijver. Department of Psychology, Higher School of Economics, Moscow, Russia

Current themes of research:

Bias and equivalence. Psychological acculturation and multiculturalism. Cognitive similarities and differences in the cognitive domain.

Most relevant publications in the field of Psychology of Education:

Arikan, S., van de Vijver, F., Yagmur, K. (2018). Propensity Score Matching Helps to Understand Sources of DIF and Mathematics Performance Differences of Indonesian, Turkish, Australian, and Dutch Students in PISA. International Journal of Research in Education and Science, 4(1), 69-81. doi:10.21890/ijres.382936.

Arikan, S., van de Vijver, F., Yagmur, K. (2017). PISA Mathematics and Reading Performance Differences of Mainstream European and Turkish Immigrant Students. Educational Assessment Evaluation and Accountability, 29(3), 229-246. doi:10.1007/s11092-017-9260-6.

Arikan, S., van de Vijver, F., Yagmur, K. (2016). Factors contributing to mathematics achievement differences of Turkish and Australian Students in TIMSS 2007 and 2011. Eurasia Journal of Mathematics, Science and Technology Education, 12(8), 2039-2059. doi:10.12973/eurasia.2016.1268a.

Kutlay Yagmur. Department of Culture Studies, Tilburg University, Tilburg, The Netherlands

Current themes of research:

Immigrant multilingualism. Educational achievement of immigrant children - acculturation orientations of immigrant youth.

Most relevant publications in the field of Psychology of Education:

Arikan, S., van de Vijver, F., Yagmur, K. (2018). Propensity Score Matching Helps to Understand Sources of DIF and Mathematics Performance Differences of Indonesian, Turkish, Australian, and Dutch Students in PISA. International Journal of Research in Education and Science, 4(1), 69-81. doi:10.21890/ijres.382936.

Arikan, S., van de Vijver, F., Yagmur, K. (2017). PISA Mathematics and Reading Performance Differences of Mainstream European and Turkish Immigrant Students. Educational Assessment Evaluation and Accountability, 29(3), 229-246. doi:10.1007/s11092-017-9260-6.

Arikan, S., van de Vijver, F., Yagmur, K. (2016). Factors contributing to mathematics achievement differences of Turkish and Australian Students in TIMSS 2007 and 2011. Eurasia Journal of Mathematics, Science and Technology Education, 12(8), 2039-2059. doi:10.12973/eurasia.2016.1268a.

Publisher’s note

Springer Nature remains neutral with regard to jurisdictional claims in published maps and institutional affiliations.

The input of van de Vijver to the article was prepared within the framework of the Basic Research Program at the National Research University Higher School of Economics (HSE) and supported within the framework of a subsidy by the Russian Academic Excellence Project “5-100.”

Our co-author and beloved colleague Professor Fons van de Vijver passed away during the review process of this paper. We dedicate this article to his memory. He always remains in our hearts and minds.

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Arikan, S., van de Vijver, F.J.R. & Yagmur, K. Mainstream and immigrant students’ primary school mathematics achievement differences in European countries. Eur J Psychol Educ 35, 819–837 (2020). https://doi.org/10.1007/s10212-019-00456-2

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  • DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/s10212-019-00456-2

Keywords

  • Immigrants
  • TIMSS mathematics achievement
  • Propensity score matching
  • Multicultural policies