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More Like Us: The Effect of Immigrant Generation on College Success in Mathematics

Authors

  • Melissa D. Barnett,

    1. Harvard University
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    • Send all correspondence to Melissa D. Barnett, mbarnett@fas.harvard.edu. This research was supported by Grant No. 0813702 from the National Science Foundation. Any opinions, findings, and conclusions in this article are the authors and do not necessarily reflect the views of the National Science Foundation. We thank the members of Harvard University's Migration and Immigrant Incorporation workshop and of the Harvard Science Education Department Seminar for their thoughtful comments and feedback. An earlier version of this article was presented at the 2011 American Sociological Association meeting in Las Vegas, NV.

  • Gerhard Sonnert,

    1. Harvard University
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    • Send all correspondence to Melissa D. Barnett, mbarnett@fas.harvard.edu. This research was supported by Grant No. 0813702 from the National Science Foundation. Any opinions, findings, and conclusions in this article are the authors and do not necessarily reflect the views of the National Science Foundation. We thank the members of Harvard University's Migration and Immigrant Incorporation workshop and of the Harvard Science Education Department Seminar for their thoughtful comments and feedback. An earlier version of this article was presented at the 2011 American Sociological Association meeting in Las Vegas, NV.

  • Philip M. Sadler

    1. Harvard University
    Search for more papers by this author
    • Send all correspondence to Melissa D. Barnett, mbarnett@fas.harvard.edu. This research was supported by Grant No. 0813702 from the National Science Foundation. Any opinions, findings, and conclusions in this article are the authors and do not necessarily reflect the views of the National Science Foundation. We thank the members of Harvard University's Migration and Immigrant Incorporation workshop and of the Harvard Science Education Department Seminar for their thoughtful comments and feedback. An earlier version of this article was presented at the 2011 American Sociological Association meeting in Las Vegas, NV.


Abstract

This article investigates the impact of immigrant generation on students performance in college calculus courses and examines the extent to which the observed patterns corroborate or contradict various assimilation theories. It goes beyond past studies of the relationship between immigrant generation and mathematics achievement that focused primarily on middle and high school students and typically excluded foreign students. Our principal finding is that foreign students and the 1.25 generation earned the highest grades, on average, even after controlling for race/ethnicity and socioeconomic status. Our findings provide partial support for the immigrant advantage theory.

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