Poor Background or Low Returns? Why Immigrant Students in Germany Perform so Poorly in Pisa

26 Pages Posted: 8 Apr 2005 Last revised: 18 Aug 2008

See all articles by Andreas Ammermueller

Andreas Ammermueller

Federal Ministry of Labour and Social Affairs

Date Written: 2005

Abstract

Student performance of Germans and immigrants differed greatly in the 2000 PISA study. This paper analyses why the two groups of students performed so differently by estimating educational production functions, using an extension study with imputed data. The difference in the test scores is assigned to different effects, using a Juhn-Murphy-Pierce decomposition method. The analysis shows that German students have on average more favorable characteristics and experience slightly higher returns to these characteristics in terms of test scores than immigrant students. The later enrolment of immigrant students and preferences of parents as reflected by the number of books and language spoken at home are more important than parents' education or the family setting for explaining the test score gap. Overall, the variation in test scores can be explained better by the observable characteristics for immigrant than for German students.

Keywords: Educational production, PISA-E, decomposition, immigration

JEL Classification: I21, H52

Suggested Citation

Ammermueller, Andreas, Poor Background or Low Returns? Why Immigrant Students in Germany Perform so Poorly in Pisa (2005). ZEW - Centre for European Economic Research Discussion Paper No. 05-018, Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=686722 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.686722

Andreas Ammermueller (Contact Author)

Federal Ministry of Labour and Social Affairs ( email )

Berlin, 11017
Germany

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