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Resilience of Immigrant Students

VU International News and Reviews No. 109 March 26 2018

March 2018

The OECD has published an extensive study on “The Resilience of Students with an Immigrant Background”. Given the crucial importance of education for the integration of immigrants in society, it has looked at enablers and risks for success in education from an academic, but also from a social and emotional perspective.

It has found – unsurprisingly – that immigrant students tend to underperform. Some data comparing immigrant students with an average cohort:

  • failing basic academic proficiency: 51% against 28%
  • weak sense of belonging: 43% against 33%
  • poor satisfaction with life: 31% against 28%
  • school-related anxiety: 67% against 61%.

Academic underperformance among students with an immigrant background is particularly pronounced in Austria, Belgium, Denmark, Finland, Germany, Iceland, Japan, Luxembourg, Slovenia, Sweden and Switzerland. Socio-economic disadvantage and language barriers are two of the greatest obstacles to the successful integration of students with an immigrant background. Education systems, schools and teachers can play a significant role in helping students with an immigrant background integrate into their communities, overcome adversity and build their academic, social, emotional and motivational resilience.

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