The Effect of Source Country on the Academic Achievement of Foreign-Born Students in New York City Public Schools

Dylan Conger, George Washington University

Many of today’s immigrant students outperform or equal their native-born peers on traditional measures of school performance. Yet there are substantial, currently under-explored, differences among the foreign-born by their country of birth. This study uncovers and explains these source-country differences using a rich dataset that combines demographic and academic information on the census of New York City elementary and middle school students with information about their schools, surrounding immigrant communities (drawn from Census data), and source countries (drawn from the UN Statistics Division). We examine differences in immigrant test score performance by source country and determine the relative influence of the following characteristics: student (e.g., poverty); school (e.g., teacher experience); co-ethnic immigrant community (e.g., % of Haitians in NYC who are married); and source country economic and social indicators (e.g., GDP). Preliminary results indicate large source-country differences in test scores that are not explained by student and school characteristics.

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Presented in Session 37: Racial Differentials in Schooling and Occupations