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Education Research International
Volume 2011, Article ID 121250, 19 pages
Research Article

More Private Schools for Nonnative Students? Migrant Performance in Private Schools of Differing National Contexts

1University of Erlangen-Nuremberg, Findelgasse 7/9, 90402 Nuremberg, Germany
2Institute of Social Sciences, University of Kiel, Westring 400, 24098 Kiel, Germany

Received 30 August 2010; Revised 17 January 2011; Accepted 23 February 2011

Academic Editor: Wayne Martino

Copyright © 2011 Monika Jungbauer-Gans and Christiane Gross. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


Migrant children from most countries are disadvantaged in school. We investigate which characteristics of both school and societal contexts influence the achievements of migrant students. We argue that living conditions and inequality in a society as a whole may affect the chances of minority members and the function that private schools perform in the process of social reproduction of inequality. We investigate in particular the question of whether migrant students attending private schools show a better performance than those attending public schools. The analyses of the paper are based on the data collected in the PISA 2006 survey. Our main results are that the lower mathematics and reading competencies of migrant students can partly be explained by the socioeconomic status and cultural capital of the family and—to a marginal degree—by school characteristics. Initially, students in private independent schools have some advantages that disappear after controlling for country attributes. In both fields of knowledge, migrants obtain better results in private government-dependent schools (interaction effect); this, however, can be traced back to their families' socioeconomic origin and cultural capital. We detect that students in private independent schools reach lower competency levels in wealthier societies (GNP).