Does Acculturation Lower Educational Achievement for Children of Immigrants?

Emily Greenman, Pennsylvania State University

Several studies have documented declines in educational outcomes across immigrant generations. Such findings have often been attributed to the negative effects of acculturation on immigrant children’s attitudes toward education. Very little research, however, has directly examined whether attitudes toward education do in fact change across generations. Nor has there been a study that has tried to explicitly link immigrants’ educational attitudes to either acculturation or educational outcomes. This project uses data from the National Longitudinal Study of Adolescent Health (Add Health) to examine educational attitudes and behaviors as possible mechanisms linking acculturation to educational outcomes. First, it assesses whether there is a pattern of generational change in educational attitudes and behaviors. Second, it assesses to what extent generational differences in high school graduation, college enrollment and grades are attributable to generational differences in attitudes and behaviors. Third, it tests whether generational changes in immigrant children’s attitudes depend on the school peer context in which they acculturate.

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Presented in Session 156: Immigrant Generations