Title

Academic Achievement Gap: The Case of Children of Immigrants

Department

Social Work

Date of Paper/Work

2015

Degree Name

Master of Social Work (M.S.W.)

Type of Paper/Work

Clinical research paper

Advisors

Karen T. Carlson

Abstract

The academic achievement gap among immigrant children is caused by multiple factors that require multiple strategies to alleviate the gap. The purpose of my study is to get the views and ideas of key interview participants to gain deep understanding of the factors that contribute to academic achievement gap among immigrant children. A qualitative research design was used in this research. The current qualitative research project employed a phenomenological approach (Lester, 1999), in interviewing participants who have personal knowledge and experiences of factors contributing to achievement gap. The four themes considered for the research were schools, neighborhoods, family and socioeconomic status (SES) factors. Eight interview participants quantified a number of contributing factors to the gap. The semi-structured interview conducted with eight interview participants highlighted the factors that hamper immigrant children's academic achievement. The findings in this research indicated the following conditions as major factors in the achievement gap among immigrant children: 1) School environment without bi-lingual and multi-cultural teachers, standardized tests without exception, age based placement and lack of role model teachers and school staff members 2) Poor neighborhoods with poor safety conditions and poor schools with poor academic outcomes 3) Low family socioeconomic status (SES), educational level, and school involvement; 4) Difficulties and challenges of integration into American school system because of lack of English skills that contribute to low comprehension of subject matters. In addition to the achievement gap problem, the fear of failing in school is found to be exposing immigrant children to mental and behavioral health problems that compromise the well-being of the children. The research findings showed that there are multiple factors that contribute to the gap. Therefore, intervention strategies based on research is recommended to alleviate the existing academic achievement gap and plan for the future to close the gap.

Keywords

achievement gap, immigrant children

Creative Commons License

Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 License.