Immigrant Student Performance in Math: Does it Matter Where You Come from?

33 Pages Posted: 11 May 2015

See all articles by Gianna Claudia Giannelli

Gianna Claudia Giannelli

University of Florence - Dipartimento di Studi sullo Stato; IZA Institute of Labor Economics

Chiara Rapallini

University of Florence

Abstract

The performance gap in math of immigrant students is investigated using PISA 2012. The gap with respect to non-immigrant schoolmates is first measured. The hypotheses that first (second) generation students coming from (whose parents come from) countries with a higher performance in math fare better than their immigrant peers coming from lower-ranked countries are then tested on a sample of about 13,000 immigrant students. The estimated average immigrant-native score gap in math amounts to -12 points. The results show that immigrant students coming from higher-ranked origin countries have a significantly lower score gap, and are thus relatively less disadvantaged. For example, coming from a country in the top quintile for math and having attended school there for one year improves the absolute score gap by nearly 39 points, the highest coefficient among the variables that reduce the gap, such as parental education and socio-economic status.

Keywords: mathematical skills, migration, countries of origin

JEL Classification: I25, J15, O15

Suggested Citation

Giannelli, Gianna Claudia and Rapallini, Chiara, Immigrant Student Performance in Math: Does it Matter Where You Come from?. IZA Discussion Paper No. 9019. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2604382

Gianna Claudia Giannelli (Contact Author)

University of Florence - Dipartimento di Studi sullo Stato ( email )

Via S. Caterina d'Alessandria 3
Firenze 50129
Italy
+39-055-4622926 (Phone)
+39-055-472102 (Fax)

IZA Institute of Labor Economics

P.O. Box 7240
Bonn, D-53072
Germany

Chiara Rapallini

University of Florence ( email )

Piazza di San Marco, 4
Florence, 50121
Italy

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