Gender Disparities in Early School Engagement among Young Children of Immigrants
Cynthia Feliciano

About the research


NAEd/Spencer Postdoctoral Fellowship

Award Year



University of California, Irvine

Primary Discipline

Why are female children of immigrants more successful in school than males? How do gender disparities vary by national origin, race, and immigrant generation? This research explores these questions by analyzing differences in school engagement—children’s interest in elementary school—an important predictor of subsequent achievement. I hypothesize that female advantages in academic engagement can be explained by differences in family cultural resources, such as parental expectations, parental control, and language fluency. Using data from the Early Childhood Longitudinal Study (ECLS-K), a nationally representative sample of children from kindergarten through fifth grade, I compare children from different immigrant generations, and those from different ethnic groups, including Mexicans, Filipinos, Indians, and Vietnamese. Using survey regression methods, I examine the effects of parents’ expectations and control, and children’s language use, on gender disparities in children’s school interest. Understanding ethnic and gender disparities has important implications for targeting policies towards the groups who are most in need. This study will fill the gap in existing research that has identified some factors that may differentially affect boys’ or girls’ achievement, but has not yet examined them in a comparative framework, particularly for young children of immigrants.
About Cynthia Feliciano

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