Teachers College Record vol:114 issue:5 pages:1-25
TIES (The Integration of European Second-Generation) location:Vienna, Austria date:Sep 29-30 2008 Invited speaker at Mannheim Centre for European Social Research (MZES) location:Manheim, Germany date:Nov10 2009 TIES (The Integration of European Second-Generation) ESF (European Science Foundation) Academic Conference location:Amsterdam, Netherlands
Background: Bridging educational and social psychology, we examine the impact of positive inter-group relations in schools on minority and non-minority school careers.
Purpose of study: The study aims to estimate and explain the attainment gap between Turkish-Belgian minority and Belgian non-minority students at four stages of their school careers, controlling for family background and prior attainment. Intergroup friendship and perceived teacher support were expected to reduce the attainment gap.
Research Design: Randomly sampled Turkish-Belgians and a non-minority comparison sample (N = 661) answered retrospective questions on their school careers and early schooling experiences. By way of separate multinomial logistic regressions, we estimated the attainment gap as the odds of leaving school or staying on in vocational (vs. academic) education at four stages: at the lower, middle and upper secondary and tertiary levels. Next, we tested the effects of intergroup friendship and teacher support on track placement and drop-out at each level.
Results: As expected, our findings indicated a persistent and widening attainment gap between minority and non-minority school careers in the hierarchical structure of the Belgian school system. Even minority students who had started in academic tracks were less likely to continue in academic and higher education and more likely to leave school at each stage than similar non-minority students. Intergroup friendship (for minority students) and perceived support from teachers (for all) significantly increased staying-on rates and reduced the attainment gap.
Conclusion: Our findings demonstrate the key role of positive inter-group relations with peers and teachers in enabling especially minority students to stay on in school.