Advertisement

Can Pre-entry Characteristics Account for the Ethnic Attainment Gap? An Analysis of a Flemish University

  • Dries LensEmail author
  • François Levrau
Article
  • 15 Downloads

Abstract

Discussions about social justice imply discussions about higher education. After all, a whole set of literature has illustrated how ethnic minority students face all types of difficulties to become successful at college level. In line with this literature, the present research offers a case study of one Flemish University nested in a growing superdiverse environment. Based on unique administration data of four consecutive cohorts of first-year students, differences in academic attainment between ethnic minority and native students are examined. Through a two-step estimation strategy (i.c. linear regression and Blinder–Oaxaca decomposition) of five different groups (i.c. native students; Dutch students; EU students; Turkish and Moroccan students; and other non-EU students) we find that ethnic minority students do not enter higher education on the same conditions as natives. Ethnic minority students have significantly lower academic attainment than native students, after controlling for important pre-entry characteristics. Oaxaca–Blinder decompositions show that, while disparities between ethnic groups exist, differences in type of secondary education, parental education and first language learned as a child play a significant role in explaining the academic attainment gap. The pre-entry characteristics, however, explain only half of the attainment gap. Other research will have to clarify what type of factors can offer further explanation.

Keywords

Academic attainment Ethnic minority students Flemish community Higher education Blinder–Oaxaca decomposition 

Notes

References

  1. Almaci, M. (2003). De allochtone student(e) aan de VUB. Samenvatting van het rapport: Project gelijke Kansen: hoe beter aansluiten bij de multiculturele maatschappij. Brussel: VUB.Google Scholar
  2. Almaci, M., & Van Craen, M. (2005). Verweesd, verdwaald, verloren? Allochtonen in het Vlaams Universitair Landschap. Tijdschrift voor Onderwijsrecht en Onderwijsbeleid, 5(2–3), 123–135.Google Scholar
  3. Ammermüller, A. (2007). PISA: what makes the difference? Explaining the gap in test scores between Finland and Germany. Empirical Economics, 33(2), 263–287.Google Scholar
  4. Arbona, C., & Nora, A. (2007). The influence of academic and environmental factors on Hispanic college degree attainment. The Review of Higher Education, 30(3), 247–269.Google Scholar
  5. Barrow, M., Reilly, B., & Woodfield, R. (2009). The determinants of undergraduate degree performance: How important is gender? British Educational Research Journal, 35(4), 575–597.Google Scholar
  6. Bauer, P., & Riphahn, R. T. (2007). Heterogeneity in the intergenerational transmission of educational attainment: Evidence from Switzerland on natives and second-generation immigrants. Journal of Population Economics, 20(1), 121–148.Google Scholar
  7. Blinder, A. S. (1973). Wage discrimination: Reduced form and structural estimates. Journal of Human Resources, 8(4), 436–455.Google Scholar
  8. Borg, M., & Stranahan, H. (2002). The effect of gender and race on student performance in principles of economics: The importance of personality type. Applied Economics, 34(5), 589–598.Google Scholar
  9. Brinbaum, Y., & Cebolla-Boado, H. (2007). The school careers of ethnic minority youth in France Success or disillusion? Ethnicities, 7(3), 445–474.Google Scholar
  10. Broecke, S., & Nicholls, T. (2007). Ethnicity and degree attainment. DfES Research Report RW92.Google Scholar
  11. Cameron, S. V., & Heckman, J. J. (2001). The dynamics of educational attainment for black, hispanic, and white males. Journal of political Economy, 109(3), 455–499.Google Scholar
  12. Chang, M., Denson, N., Saenz, V., & Misa, K. (2006). The educational benefits of sustaining cross-racial interaction among undergraduates. The Journal of Higher Education, 77(3), 430–455.Google Scholar
  13. Cliffordson, C. (2008). Differential prediction of academic attainment across academic programs in the swedish context: The validity of grades and tests as selection instruments for higher education. Educational Assessment, 13(1), 56–75.Google Scholar
  14. Cohen, G. L., & Garcia, J. (2005). “I am us”: Negative stereotypes as collective threats. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 89(4), 566–582.Google Scholar
  15. Connor, C., Tyers, T., Modood, J., & Hillage, J. (2004). Why the difference? A closer look at higher education minority ethnic students and graduates. DfES Research Report Number RR552.Google Scholar
  16. Cotton, J. (1988). On the decomposition of wage differentials. The review of economics and statistics, 70(2), 236–243.Google Scholar
  17. Cotton, D. R. E., Joyner, M., George, R., & Cotton, P. A. (2016). Understanding the gender and ethnicity attainment gap in UK higher education. Innovations in Education and Teaching International, 53(5), 475–486.Google Scholar
  18. Crul, M. (2016). Super-diversity vs. assimilation: how complex diversity in majority–minority cities challenges the assumptions of assimilation. Journal of Ethnic and Migration Studies, 42(1), 54–68.Google Scholar
  19. Danhier, J., Jacobs, D., Devleeshouwer, P., Martin, E., & Alarcon-Henriquez, A. (2014). Naar kwaliteitsscholen voor iedereen?: Analyse van de resultaten van het PISA 2012 onderzoek in Vlaanderen en in de Federatie Wallonië-Brussel. Brussel: Koning Boudewijnstichting.Google Scholar
  20. de Dominicis, L., Pérez, S.E., & Fernández-Zubieta, A. (2011). European University funding and financial autonomy: A study on the degree of diversification of University budget and the share of competitive funding. European Union. JRC Scientific and Technical ReportsGoogle Scholar
  21. De Meester, K., & Mahieu, P. (2000). Onstuimig. Hartstochtelijk of heftig bewegend. ONderzoek STudenten UIt MIGratie. Allochtone studenten in de Vlaamse hogescholen. Antwerpen: UFSIA.Google Scholar
  22. De Meester, K., & Mahieu, P. (2005). Witte raven! Arme schapen? … Over allochtone studenten in het hogescholenonderwijs. Tijdschrift voor hoger onderwijs en management, 1, 56–61.Google Scholar
  23. De Meyer, I., Warlop, N., & Van Camp, S. (2014). Wiskundige geletterdheid bij 15-jarigen. Overzicht van de eerste Vlaamse resultaten van PISA2012. Brussel: Departement Onderwijs en Vorming, Afdeling Strategisch Beleidsondersteuning.Google Scholar
  24. De Ridder, I., & Veeckman, J. (2013). Advies over studierendement. Brussel: Vlaamse onderwijsraad.Google Scholar
  25. Declercq, K., & Verboven, F. (2010). Slaagkansen aan Vlaamse universiteiten: Tijd om het beleid bij te sturen?. Leuven: Vlaams Instituut voor Economie en Samenleving.Google Scholar
  26. Demeulemeester, J.-L., & Rochat, D. (1995). Impact of individuals characteristics and sociocultural environment on academic success. International Advances in Economic Research, 1(3), 278–287.Google Scholar
  27. Dennis, J. M., Phinney, J. S., & Chuateco, L. Z. (2005). The role of motivation, parental support, and peer support in the academic success of ethnic minority first-generation college students. Journal of College Student Development, 46(3), 223–236.Google Scholar
  28. Ducquet, N., Glorieux, I., Laurijssen, I., & Van Dorsselaer, Y. (2006). Wit krijt schrijft beter. Schoolloopbanen van allochtone jongeren in beeld. Antwerpen, Apeldoorn: Garant.Google Scholar
  29. Duncan, K. C., & Sandy, J. (2007). Explaining the performance gap between public and private school students. Eastern Economic Journal, 33(2), 177–191.Google Scholar
  30. Eurostat (2017). First and second-generation immigrantsA statistical overview. Retrieved from https://ec.europa.eu/eurostat/statistics-explained/index.php/First_and_second-generation_immigrants_-_a_statistical_overview
  31. Fielding, A., Charlton, C., Kounali, D., & Leckie, G. (2008). Degree attainment, ethnicity and gender: Interactions and the modification of effects—A quantitative analysis. York: Higher Education Academy, Equality Challenge Unit.Google Scholar
  32. Furlong, A., & Cartmel, F. (2009). Higher education and social justice. Buckingham: Society for Research into Higher Education & Open University Press.Google Scholar
  33. Gang, I. N., & Zimmermann, K. F. (2000). Is child like parent? Educational attainment and ethnic origin. Journal of Human Resources, 35(3), 550–569.Google Scholar
  34. Gevrek, Z. E., & Seiberlich, R. R. (2014). Semiparametric decomposition of the gender achievement gap: An application for Turkey. Labour Economics, 31(3), 27–44.Google Scholar
  35. Glorieux, I., Laurijssen, I., & Sobczyk, O. (2015). Studiesucces in het eerste jaar hoger onderwijs in Vlaanderen. Een analyse van de impact van kenmerken van studenten en van opleidingen. Research paper SSL/2014.15/4.1.2, Leuven: Steunpunt SSL.Google Scholar
  36. Groenez, S., Nicaise, I., & De Rick, K. (2009). De ongelijke weg door het onderwijs. In L. Vanderleyden, M. Callens, & J. Noppe (Eds.), De sociale staat van Vlaanderen 2009 (pp. 33–67). Brussel: Studiedienst van de Vlaamse regering.Google Scholar
  37. Heath, A. F., Rothon, C., & Kilpi, E. (2008). The second generation in Western Europe: Education, unemployment, and occupational attainment. Annual Review of Sociology, 34(1), 211–235.Google Scholar
  38. Hermans, D. J. (2002). Democratisering van het Onderwijs in Vlaanderen (p. 8). Ontwerp van Proefschrift. Reeks: LOA-rapport.Google Scholar
  39. Hirtt, N., Nicaise, I., & De Zutter, D. (2007). De school van de ongelijkheid. Berchem-Antwerpen: Epo.Google Scholar
  40. Hofman, A., & Van den Berg, M. (2003). Ethnic-specific achievement in dutch higher education. Higher Education in Europe, 28(3), 371–389.Google Scholar
  41. Horn, L., Peter, K., & Rooney, K. (2002). Profile of Undergraduates in U.S. Postsecondary Institutions. Report No. 2002-168. Washington, DC: US Department of Education, National Center for Education Statistics.Google Scholar
  42. Hurtado, S., Cuellar, M., & Guillermo-Wann, C. (2011). Quantitative measures of students’ sense of validation: Advancing the study of diverse learning environments. Enrollment Management Journal, 5(2), 53–71.Google Scholar
  43. Jacobs, D., Rea A., Teney C., Callier L., & Lothaire S. (2009). De sociale lift blijft steken. De prestaties van allochtone leerlingen in de Vlaamse Gemeenschap en de Franse Gemeenschap. Brussel: METICES, Koning BoudewijnstichtingGoogle Scholar
  44. Jacobs, D., Rea, A., & Hanquinet, L. (2007). Prestaties van de leerlingen van buitenlandse herkomst in België volgens de PISA-studie: vergelijking tussen de Franse Gemeenschap en de Vlaamse Gemeenschap. Brussel: METICES, Koning Boudewijnstichting.Google Scholar
  45. Jann, B. (2008). A Stata implementation of the Blinder–Oaxaca decomposition. Stata journal, 8(4), 453–479.Google Scholar
  46. Jansen, E. P. W. A. (2004). The influence of the curriculum organization on study progress in higher education. Higher Education, 47(4), 411–435.Google Scholar
  47. Jennissen, R. (2007). Allochtonen in het hoger onderwijs. Demos, 22(7), 65–68.Google Scholar
  48. Kamphorst, J. C., Adriaan Hofman, W. H., Jansen, E. P. W. A., & Terlouw, C. (2015). Explaining academic success in engineering degree programs: do female and male students differ? Journal of Engineering Education, 104(2), 189–211.Google Scholar
  49. Kao, G., & Thompson, J. S. (2003). Racial and ethnic stratification in educational achievement and attainment. Annual Review of Sociology, 29(1), 417–442.Google Scholar
  50. Laban, C. J. (2015). Lokale inburgerings-en integratiemonitor: editie 2015.Google Scholar
  51. Lacante, M., Almaci, M., Van Esbroeck, R., Lens, W., & De Metsenaere, M. (2007). Allochtonen in het hoger onderwijs: Onderzoek naar factoren van studiekeuze en studiesucces bij allochtone eerstejaarsstudenten in het hoger onderwijs. Brussel–Leuven: Vrije Universiteit Brussel–Katholieke Universiteit Leuven.Google Scholar
  52. Lens, D., Levrau, F., Piqueray, E., De Coninck, D., Clycq, N., & Timmerman, C. (2015). De universiteit in een tijd van toegenomen diversiteit: een studie over de in-, door- en uitstroom van ‘maatschappelijk kwetsbare studenten’ aan de UAntwerpen. Antwerpen: Centrum voor Migratie en Interculturele Studies.Google Scholar
  53. Leslie, D. (2005). Why people from the UK’s minority ethnic communities achieve weaker degree results than whites. Applied Economics, 37(6), 619–632.Google Scholar
  54. Levrau F., Nouwen W., & Clycq N. (2011). De onderwijspositie en -segregatie naar herkomst. In D. Dierckx., J. Vranken, J. Coene & A. Van Haarlem (Eds.), Armoede en sociale uitsluiting: jaarboek (pp. 239-262). Leuven, Den Haag: Acco.Google Scholar
  55. McEwan, P. J. (2004). The indigenous test score gap in Bolivia and Chile. Economic Development and Cultural Change, 53(1), 157–190.Google Scholar
  56. McKenzie, K., & Schweitzer, R. (2001). Who Succeeds at University? Factors predicting academic performance in first year Australian University students. Higher Education Research & Development, 20(1), 21–33.Google Scholar
  57. McNabb, R., Pal, S., & Sloane, P. (2002). Gender differences in educational attainment: The case of University students in England and Wales. Economica, 69(275), 481–503.Google Scholar
  58. Meeuwisse, M., Severiens, S. E., & Born, M. P. (2010). Learning environment, interaction, sense of belonging and academic attainment in ethnically diverse student groups. Research in Higher Education, 51(6), 528–545.Google Scholar
  59. Ministerie van Onderwijs en Vorming (2009). Studiesucces generatiestudenten in 2007:2008.Google Scholar
  60. Naylor, R. A., & Smith, J. P. (2004). Determinants of educational success in higher education. In G. Johnes & J. Johnes (Eds.), The international handbook on the economics of education (pp. 415–461). Cheltenham: Edward Elgar.Google Scholar
  61. Neumark, D. (1988). Employers’ discriminatory behavior and the estimation of wage discrimination. Journal of Human Resources, 23(3), 279–295.Google Scholar
  62. Nielsen, H. S., Rosholm, M., Smith, N., & Husted, L. (2003). The school-to-work transition of 2nd generation immigrants in Denmark. Journal of Population Economics, 16(4), 755–786.Google Scholar
  63. Niu, S., & Tienda, M. (2013). Delayed enrollment and college plans: is there a postponement penalty? The Journal of higher education, 84(1), 1–26.Google Scholar
  64. Noppe, J., & Lodewijckx, E. (2013). De gekleurde samenleving. Personen van Vreemde Herkomst in Vlaanderen. Brussel: Studiedienst van de Vlaamse Regering.Google Scholar
  65. Oaxaca, R. (1973). Male-female wage differentials in urban labor markets. International Economic Review, 14(3), 693–709.Google Scholar
  66. OECD. (2016). Education at a Glance 2016: OECD Indicators. Paris: OECD Publishing.Google Scholar
  67. Opdenakker, M.-C., & Hermans, D. (2006). Allochtonen in en doorheen het onderwijs: cijfers, oorzaken en verklaringen. In S. Sierens, M. Van Houtte, P. Loobuyck, K. Delrue, & K. Pelleriaux (Eds.), Onderwijs onderweg in de immigratiesamenleving (pp. 33–66). Gent: Academia Press.Google Scholar
  68. Ortiz, A. E., & Dehon, C. (2008). What are the factors of success at University? A case study in Belgium. CESifo Economic Studies, 54(2), 121–148.Google Scholar
  69. Owens, J., & Massey, D. S. (2011). Stereotype threat and college academic performance: A latent variable approach. Social Science Research, 40(1), 150–166.Google Scholar
  70. Phalet, K., Deboosere, P., & Bastiaenssen, V. (2007). Old and new inequalities in educational attainment Ethnic minorities in the Belgian Census 1991-2001. Ethnicities, 7(3), 390–415.Google Scholar
  71. Pinxten, M., De Fraine, B., Van Den Noortgate, W., Van Damme, J., Boonen, T., & Vanlaar, G. (2014). ‘I choose so I am’: a logistic analysis of major selection in University and successful completion of the first year. Studies in Higher Education, 40(10), 1919–1946.Google Scholar
  72. Reimers, C. W. (1983). Labor market discrimination against Hispanic and black men. The review of economics and statistics, 65(4), 570–579.Google Scholar
  73. Richardson, J. T. E. (2008). The attainment of ethnic minority students in UK higher education. Studies in Higher Education, 33(1), 33–48.Google Scholar
  74. Richardson, J. T. E. (2015). The under-attainment of ethnic minority students in UK higher education: what we know and what we don’t know. Journal of Further and Higher Education, 39(2), 278–291.Google Scholar
  75. Ridley, A. M. (2007). Approaches to learning, age, ethnicity and assessment: Implications for widening participation. Psychology Teaching Review, 13(1), 3–13.Google Scholar
  76. Rombaut, K. (2006). Determinanten van de differentiële slaagkansen in het Hoger onderwijs. Onuitgegeven onderzoeksrapport: Universiteit Antwerpen, Centrum voor sociaal beleid Herman Deleeck.Google Scholar
  77. Sakellariou, C. (2008). Peer effects and the indigenous/non-indigenous early test-score gap in Peru. Education Economics, 16(4), 371–390.Google Scholar
  78. Santibañez, L. (2016). The indigenous achievement gap in Mexico: The role of teacher policy under intercultural bilingual education. International Journal of Educational Development, 47(3), 63–75.Google Scholar
  79. Schnepf, S. V. (2007). Immigrants’ educational disadvantage: An examination across ten countries and three surveys. Journal of population economics, 20(3), 527–545.Google Scholar
  80. Severiens, S., ten Dam, G., & Blom, S. (2006). Comparison of dutch ethnic minority and majority engineering students: social and academic integration. International Journal of Inclusive Education, 10(1), 75–89.Google Scholar
  81. Severiens, S., & Wolff, R. (2008). A comparison of ethnic minority and majority students: Social and academic integration, and quality of learning. Studies in Higher Education, 33(3), 253–266.Google Scholar
  82. Severiens, S., & Wolff, R. (2009). Study success of students from ethnic minority backgrounds: An overview of explanations for differences in study careers. In M. Tight, H. Mok, J. Huisman, & C. C. Morphew (Eds.), The Routledge international handbook of higher education (pp. 61–72). New York: Routledge.Google Scholar
  83. Severiens, S., Wolff, R., Meeuwisse, M., Rezai, S., & De Vos, W. (2008). Waarom stoppen zoveel allochtone studenten met de Pabo? Samenvatting van vijf studies. Den Haag: SBO.Google Scholar
  84. Smedts, D., Van Landeghem, G., & Van Damme, J. (2011). Een bachelordiploma behalen in het Vlaams hoger onderwijs. Een verkennend onderzoek betreffende de generatiestudenten van 2004-2005 en 2005-2006. Leuven: Steunpunt Studie- en Schoolloopbanen.Google Scholar
  85. Støren, L. A. (2011). Pursuing educational ambitions? Higher education enrolment and the choice of study programmes among immigrant and non-immigrant youth in Norway. Irish Educational Studies, 30(2), 159–177.Google Scholar
  86. Strand, S. (2014). Ethnicity, gender, social class and achievement gaps at age 16: Intersectionality and ‘getting it’ for the white working class. Research Papers in Education, 29(2), 131–171.Google Scholar
  87. Strayhorn, T. L. (2010). When race and gender collide: Social and cultural capital’s influence on the academic achievement of African American and Latino males. The Review of Higher Education, 33(3), 307–332.Google Scholar
  88. Swail, W. S., Redd, K. E., & Perna, L. W. (2003). Retaining minority students in higher education. AHE-ERIC Higher Education Report, 30(2), 1–187.Google Scholar
  89. Timmerman, C., Fadil, N., Goddeeris, I., Clycq, N., & Ettourki, K. (Eds.). (2017). Moroccan migration in Belgium. More than 50 years of settlement. Louvain: Louvain University Press.Google Scholar
  90. Van Damme, D. (2014). How closely is the distribution of skills related to countries’ overall level of social inequality and economic prosperity? OECD Education Working Papers, No. 105, OECD Publishing.Google Scholar
  91. Van de Werfhorst, H. G., & Van Tubergen, F. (2007). Ethnicity, schooling, and merit in the Netherlands. Ethnicities, 7(3), 416–444.Google Scholar
  92. Van den Berg, M. N., & Hofman, W. H. A. (2005). Student Success in University Education: A multi-measurement study of the impact of student and subject of study factors on study progress. Higher Education, 50(3), 413–446.Google Scholar
  93. Van Ours, J. C., & Veenman, J. (2003). The educational attainment of second-generation immigrants in The Netherland. Journal of Population Economics, 16(4), 739–753.Google Scholar
  94. Verbeek F., Lington, H., & De Jong, U. (1995). Vertrokken maar niet verloren. Onderzoek naar uitvallers in het Hoger onderwijs. SCO-rapport 407. Amsterdam: SCO-Kohnstamm-Instituut.Google Scholar
  95. Vrielink, J. (2010). Van haat gesproken? Een rechtsantropologisch onderzoek naar de bestrijding van rasgerelateerde uitingsdelicten in België. Antwerpen, Apeldoorn: Maklu.Google Scholar
  96. Warikoo, N., & Carter, P. (2009). Cultural explanations for racial and ethnic stratification in academic achievement: A call for a new and improved theory. Review of Educational Research, 7(1), 366–394.Google Scholar
  97. Wolff, R., Rezai, S., & Severiens, S. (2010). Het is maar in wat voor gezin je geboren bent. Een onderzoek naar de effecten van het opleidingsniveau ouders en etnische afkomst op studiesucces in het hoger onderwijs. Rotterdam: RISBO.Google Scholar
  98. Wolff, R., & Severiens, S. (2011). De weg naar een keuze, een afslag naar succes? Studiekeuzeprocessen van niet-westers allochtone en autochtone studenten. Thema, 2, 16–21.Google Scholar
  99. Woolf, K., McManus, I. C., Potts, H. W., & Dacre, J. (2013). The mediators of minority ethnic underperformance in final medical school examinations. British Journal of Educational Psychology, 83(1), 135–159.Google Scholar
  100. Zeegers, P. (2004). Student learning in higher education: a path analysis of academic achievement in science’. Higher Education Research & Development, 23(1), 35–56.Google Scholar
  101. Zorlu, A. (2013). Ethnic disparities in higher education. IZA Journal of Migration, 2(1), 1–21.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Nature B.V. 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Herman Deleeck, Centre for Social PolicyUniversity of AntwerpAntwerpBelgium
  2. 2.Centre Pieter GillisUniversity of AntwerpAntwerpBelgium

Personalised recommendations