Van Houtte, Mieke, & Stevens, Peter A.J.
School Ethnic Composition and Aspirations of Immigrant Students in Belgium
Ghent University, Belgium
- The authors seek to examine whether Flemish ethnic concentration in secondary schools has the detrimental effects on immigrant students’ performance as some claim.
- Is there an association between ethnic school composition and immigrant students’ intention to finish high school and their plans to move on to higher education?
Journal Name or Institutional Affiliation:
British Educational Research Journal
Vol. 36, No. 2, pp. 209-237
- The likelihood of planning to finish high school was significantly related to school ethnic composition: this likelihood was twice as high in low ethnic concentration schools compared to high concentration schools. There was no significant difference between high concentration and medium concentration schools.
- The SES context of the school was associated with students’ intentions to finish high school irrespective of their individual SES. Besides these SES variables, the intention to finish high school was associated with parental support and with gender. Native born girls were more likely
to intend to finish high school than native born boys. This gender difference was not found for immigrant students.
- Immigrant students in high concentration immigrant schools tend to aspire to finish high school and move on to higher education slightly more than those attending medium concentration schools (20-50% immigrant students).
- All else being equal, high ethnic concentration schools have no unfavorable effect on the graduation aspirations of immigrant students. Quite the reverse: students’ chances of intending to finish school were about 37% smaller in medium concentration schools than in high concentration schools. Native students’ graduation aspirations are not significantly associated with ethnic school composition.
- An increase in SES context of one standard deviation increased the immigrant students’ likelihood of planning for higher education by about 54% and the native students’ likelihood of planning for higher education by about 86%.
- For immigrant students, a culture of futility was significantly related both to planning on finishing high school and planning for higher education. All other features being equal, an increase in culture of futility of one standard deviation decreased the likelihood of planning to finish high school by 24% and the likelihood of aspiring to higher education by 28%.
- Native born students’ aspirations were not significantly associated with culture of futility.
- The main conclusion is that high concentration schools are not necessarily detrimental for students' educational aspirations.
- The classroom count of free lunch status is negatively associated with reading and math scores.
Journal Article Empirical Research
Aspirations, Attitudes, Ethnicity, Racial Composition, SES Composition, Tracking
Secondary Data, Survey
Method of Analysis:
Students in Flanders (Belgium) schools
Unit of Analysis:
- Data from 11,872 students gathered in 2004-2005 from a sample of 85 secondary schools in Flanders, that is the Dutch-speaking part of Belgium, as part of the Flemish Educational Assessment (FlEA)
- Drop out intentions (‘Do you intend to finish high school?’ and the question could be answered with ‘no’, ‘yes’ or ‘don’t know yet’.)
- Future aspirations (authors made a distinction between those respondents who indicate that they plan to enroll in higher education (code 1) and those who had no intentions for higher education or who were in doubt (code 0).)
- The proportion of immigrants in the 8th and 11th grade of each school, SES of each school (measured by the mean SES of all respondents.), school sector (public or private), futility culture of school, individual SES, parental support, vocational track.