Immigrant student achievement and educational policy in Ireland

March 29, 2018

Immigrant Student Achievement and Educational Policy in Ireland, Volante L, Klinger D, Bilgili O. (eds), pp. 119-135

Much of the existing research on educational outcomes among immigrant-origin children has been conducted in “old” immigrant-receiving countries. This chapter focuses instead on how immigrant-origin children and youth fare in a country, the Republic of Ireland, where large-scale immigration is a more recent phenomenon. What makes this case of particular interest is the fact that the immigrant population in Ireland is highly heterogeneous and has, on average, high levels of educational attainment. This chapter focuses on the academic achievement of immigrant-origin young people in Irish secondary schools, drawing on the latest round of PISA data as well as on data from a large-scale child cohort study, the Growing Up in Ireland study. The analyses point to an achievement gap in relation to literacy test scores but more variable findings in relation to Math and Science. Language of origin rather than immigrant status per se emerges as one of the main drivers of this achievement gap. The chapter concludes by highlighting the lack of consistent information on educational outcomes among immigrant-origin young people and argues for on-going monitoring of such outcomes in order to prevent longer term difficulties in integration.