Does Acculturation Lower Educational Achievement for Children of Immigrants?
Emily Greenman

About the research


NAEd/Spencer Postdoctoral Fellowship

Award Year



Pennsylvania State University

Primary Discipline

Several studies have documented declines in educational outcomes, such as high school graduation, across immigrant generations. Such findings have often been attributed to the negative effects of acculturation on immigrant children’s attitudes and behaviors toward education. Very little research, however, has directly examined whether attitudes and behaviors 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 Add Health, a nationally representative survey of adolescents, 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. By providing a deeper understanding of the relationship between acculturation and educational outcomes, this project will help educators design more effective interventions to help children of immigrants succeed in school.
About Emily Greenman

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