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School Integration as a Sociological Construct: Measuring Multiethnic Classrooms’ Integration in Italy

Living in Two Homes

ISBN: 978-1-78635-782-3, eISBN: 978-1-78635-781-6

Publication date: 10 April 2017


Integration is a fundamental mandate of schooling in democratic and differentiated societies. This chapter analyzes the consequences generated by an increase in number of students without Italian citizenship in Italian schools, and the development of multiethnic classrooms. When non-Italian pupils comprise >25–50% of the pupils in classrooms, it’s worth questioning: Are these classrooms segregated? Which factors affect school integration and for whom? The chapter presents the results of the first survey on classrooms with a “high density” of students with an immigrant background carried out in Italy. This study is based on a sample of 1,040 students enrolled in lower secondary education in Lombardy. We use statistical indicators related to two dimensions of integration: (a) the institutional dimension (school access and achievement), and (b) the relational dimension (well-being and absence of conflicts among peers). Data analysis included indexes and a correlation matrix between indexes, regression analysis, and cluster analysis. Results demonstrate a positive correlation between the rate of non-native students in the classroom and low degree of integration, but also the complexity of factors at stake such as gender imbalance and the high concentration of students whose families have a low Socio-Economic Status (SES), independently from citizenship. These results enabled us to de-construct the concept of school integration, identifying a plurality of integrative factors and providing suggestions for intervention.



Colombo, M. and Santagati, M. (2017), "School Integration as a Sociological Construct: Measuring Multiethnic Classrooms’ Integration in Italy", Espinoza-Herold, M. and Contini, R.M. (Ed.) Living in Two Homes, Emerald Publishing Limited, Leeds, pp. 253-292.



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