Skills beyond school

Where Immigrant Students Succeed - A Comparative Review of Performance and Engagement in PISA 2003


Table of contents | How to obtain this publication 
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ISBN: 9264023607
Publication: 15/5/2006
Pages: 224


Where Immigrant Students Succeed -  A Comparative Review of Performance and Engagement in PISA 2003

Successful integration of immigrant populations is essential for ensuring social cohesion in immigrant receiving nations. Immigrants bring a wealth of human capital which, if nurtured carefully, can positively contribute to economic well-being and cultural diversity of the host country. Yet, tapping into this potential remains a major challenge for policy makers. What barriers exist for young immigrants today? Can school contribute to reducing those barriers and in turn help young immigrants succeed in their adopted countries?
Drawing on data from the OECD's Programme for International Student Assessment (PISA), this report examines the performance of students with immigrant backgrounds and compares it to that of their native counterparts. As well as providing information on countries' approaches to the integration of immigrants, it looks at other factors that could influence immigrant students' peformance - such as their attitudes to school, their motivation and learning strategies as well as their social background and the language spoken at home - giving valuable implications for educational policy.

Table of contents

Executive Summary [English; French; German]
Reader's Guide
Chapter 1: Countries' immigration histories and populations

  • Introduction
  • Immigration and integration
  • Immigration histories and general approaches to immigration and integration
  • Immigrant populations
  • Research questions addressed in the report
  • Immigrant Students in the PISA sample

Chapter 2: Peformance of immigrant students in PISA 2003

  • Introduction
  • Immigrant student peformance in the OECD and partner countries
  • Performance of immigrant students and the language spoken at home
  • Performance of immigrant students and gender
  • Performance of immigrant students in the context of migration trends in the receiving country
  • Conclusions

Chapter 3: Background characteristics, mathematics peformance and learning environments of immigrant students

  • Introduction
  • Immigrant families' educational and socio-economic background
  • Relationships between performance differences and differences in educational and socio-economic background among immigrant and non-immigrant student groups
  • Disparities specifically related to students' immigrant status
  • Differences between immigrant and native students within and between schools
  • Summary and conclusions

Chapter 4: Immigrant students' approaches to learning

  • Introduction
  • Students' interest and motivation in mathematics
  • Students' self-related beliefs
  • Emotional disposition in mathematics
  • Students attitudes towards and perceptions of schools
  • Summary of differences between immigrant and non-immigrant students in learning characteristics
  • Conclusions

Chapter 5: Policies and practicies to help immigrant students attain proficiency in the language of instruction

  • Introduction
  • PISA 2003 supplementary survey on national policies and practices to help immigrant students attain proficiency in the language of instruction
  • Policies and practicies designed to help newly arrived immigrant adults attain proficiency in the case countries' official language(s)
  • Assessment of language proficiency in pre-primary (ISCED 0) and primary (ISCED 1) educaiton
  • Language support for immigrant students in pre-primary education (ISCED 0)
  • Language support for immigrant students in primary education (ISCED 1) and lower secondary (ISCED 2) education
  • Country descriptions of language support in primary (ISCED 1) and lower secondary (ISCED 2) education
  • Supplementary classes to improve proficiency in immigrant students' native languages
  • Additional school resources
  • Summary and conclusion


  • Annex A
    • Annex A1: Technical background
    • Annex A2: Summary descriptions of the five levels of reading proficiency
  • Annex B
    • Annex B1: Data tables for chapters 1, 2, 3 and 4
  • Annex C
    • Annex C1: The development and implementation of PISA - a collaborative effort

How to obtain this publication

Readers can access the full version of Where Immigrant Students Succeed - A Comparative Review of Performance and Engagement in PISA 2003 choosing from the following options:

PowerPoint Presentation

 Briefing Notes

  • Briefing Note
    • Germany
    • Belgium (Flemish Community)

Press Release







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