What causes lower mathematics and reading performance of Turkish immigrant students?

Activity: Talk or presentation typesInvited talkScientific


European Union supports and promotes linguistic and cultural diversity in all domains of social life. Some member states; however, do not (or cannot) implement the EU policies due to local circumstances. Faced by diverse student populations, European educational institutions have to deal with multiculturalism and linguistic diversity on a daily basis. In this paper presentation, I examine the role of national policies in achievement differences between mainstream and immigrant pupils by using two different sets of international data sets. Migrant Integration Policy Index (MIPEX) compares integration policies of 31 countries in Europe and North America using 148 policy indicators. Programme for International Student Assessment (PISA) provides feedback on the effectiveness of educational systems by testing reading skills, mathematical, and scientific literacy. As shown by Hochschild and Cropper (2010) there is a close link between national immigration policies and educational achievement of immigrant children.
Reflecting on the PISA outcomes, previous research identified possible predictors of differences between immigrant and mainstream students. In many countries mainstream students performed much better than the immigrant students. In countries like Australia and Canada, these differences were negligible (OECD 2012). Even in some cases, immigrant pupils performed higher than the native-born pupils in these countries. Given the whole range of factors on the possible predictors of differences, researchers controlled for socio-economic status, parental background, and language spoken at home. After controlling these crucial factors, researchers were able to gain a deeper insight into achievement differences.
In this paper presentation, I aim at deepening our understanding of the achievement differences by concentrating on a single immigrant group in multiple national contexts. Turkish immigrants are present in many of the PISA participating countries. Given the 50 years of immigration history, the third and fourth generation Turkish immigrant pupils are now attending Western European schools. By using PISA reading and mathematics outcomes, in order to contribute new evidence to the already available findings and knowledge on the differences between mainstream and immigrant pupils, we concentrated on possible predictors of the differences as socio-economic status, language proficiency, and the effects of immigrant integration policies of the host societies such as Austria, Belgium, Denmark, Finland, Germany, Netherlands, Switzerland.
We investigated how differences in human development level, school systems, and migration policies, measured by MIPEX indicators, might be related to reading and mathematics performance of immigrant and mainstream European students. In the analysis of observed reading performance, countries with higher MIPEX results in education showed higher reading performance in PISA. As a high MIPEX education score refers to a more inclusive integration policy using an intercultural approach in schools, curriculum, textbook and hiring practices, countries with better integration policies were more successful. Based on a follow up study on the role of language, I will explain the importance of diversity policies for linguistic minority students’ school achievement.
Period6 Nov 2020
Event titleAssociation of Language Testers in Europe Conference
Event typeConference
Conference number55
LocationIstanbul, TurkeyShow on map
Degree of RecognitionInternational