They will get there! Studies on educational performance of immigrant youth in the Netherlands
3 July 2013
Number of pages
Faculty of Economics and Business (FEB)
Amsterdam School of Economics Research Institute (ASE-RI)
The educational performance of youth from immigrant descent has been a key subject in political and public debate over the
past decades. Typically, these debates focus on underrepresentation in academic tracks in secondary school, and drop-out.
The steady increase, however, in enrolments in academic secondary levels among youth from immigrant descent, seems almost
overshadowed by the emphasis on problematic school careers. This thesis shows that the average access to higher secondary
tracks is slightly lower in largely stratified neighbourhoods. Further research into three zip code areas with persistent
socioeconomic challenges, however, shows that pupils from Moroccan descent have better chances to complete secondary school,
when they do not switch schools. Furthermore, we found that up to 90% of pupils in the four major Dutch cities choose another
school than the school nearest to their home. While native Dutch pupils on average prefer a school with a lower percentage
of migrant pupils, pupils from immigrant descent prefer a school with a higher percentage of migrant pupils than is the case
at the nearest school. For pupils from immigrant descent, chances for upward mobility to a higher track increase slightly,
but significantly, with a lower distance between home and school. Finally, we found that relevant and manageable existing
scientific research, can adequately be matched with key questions of diverse schools, and support these schools in the closing
of the achievement gap.
TIER research series no. II
Research conducted at: Universiteit van Amsterdam
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