Research in the Sociology of Education: Volume 20

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(10 chapters)


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This study examines the educational aspirations of immigrant students, who are descendants of eight different immigrant communities in Germany. First, the article shows that compared to native German students, the educational aspirations of students with migration origin vary substantially. Challenging previous narratives of immigrant optimism and information deficit, the article suggests that the students of Turkish origin develop a conscious appraisal of obtaining an academic high-school qualification (AHSQ), even if they realize they will not be able to receive one by the end of the high-school. The study also shows that the duration of their stay in Germany plays a significant role in attenuating the high educational aspirations of most immigrant communities. However, Turkish students constitute an exception to this finding as they maintain high idealistic aspirations from first- to third-generation. The return migrant students from the former Soviet Union are the only group who report high educational aspirations, when asked about both their idealistic and realistic aspirations. Finally, the findings indicate that the position of the particular immigrant groups within the German social status hierarchy is a strong determinant of the educational aspirations of immigrant students and their parents.


Physical victimization at school is little studied in impoverished developing country contexts. Moreover, the role of school and classroom contexts as risk factors remains poorly understood.

The aim of the study is to investigate the prevalence of physical victimization in rural Chinese middle schools as well as the individual, teacher/classroom, and school-level risk factors associated with experiencing physical victimization.

We use two waves of longitudinal, representative survey data to perform a multilevel logistic regression analysis (MLRA) of physical victimization among middle school students from 100 villages in one of China’s poorest provinces. We focus on a subset of questionnaire items that were gathered from students when the sampled children were 13–16 years old. We also utilize student data from the first wave of the survey to control for prior internalizing problems and academic achievement. Finally, we link matched data collected from principal and teacher questionnaires to examine the risk factors for physical victimization associated with students’ microclimates and the wider school environment.

A substantial proportion of middle school students (40%) reported having been beaten by classmates. Elevated risk was found among males; students with prior poor performance in language; students with past internalizing problems; students of female teachers and teachers evaluated as low performing; students in disruptive classrooms; and students in classrooms undergoing mandated reforms.

These findings suggest that efforts to reduce school violence should not only focus on the deficits of individual students, but rather should target practices to alter the within school risk factors associated with microclimates.


Building on the first cross-national study that had demystified various assumptions about the worldwide use of shadow education two decades ago, we analyze data from the 2012 Programme for International Student Assessment to examine the cross-national pattern of the use of shadow education by families in 64 nations and use improved statistical estimation methods. Focusing on fee-paying out-of-school classes, we find a continued, and likely an intensified pattern of the cross-national use of shadow education in the contemporary world. Approximately about one-third of all 15-year-old students from 64 countries/economies across the world use this form of shadow education. Students of higher socioeconomic status, females, and students in urban areas and general programs are more likely to use fee-paying services, while families and students turn to these services to address academic deficiencies in general. In addition, students from poorer countries more extensively rely on shadow education than students from wealthier countries after controlling for other variables. Students in South-Eastern and Eastern Asian countries are more likely to pursue shadow education than their counterparts in many other regions. Implications of these findings for theories of education and society as well as for educational policy in relation to shadow education are discussed.


Research demonstrates that social class affects where high-achieving students apply to college, but the processes through which such effects come about are not well understood. This chapter draws on 46 in-depth interviews with high-achieving students in the Bay Area to examine how social class impacts college application decisions. I argue that the upbringing and experiences associated with students’ social class shape their narratives regarding how much autonomy or constraints they perceive in making college decisions. Higher-SES students present a narrative of independence about what they have done to prepare themselves for college and where to apply. In contrast, lower-SES students speak of experiences and considerations that reflect a narrative of interdependence between themselves and their parents that is grounded in the mutual concern they have for one another as the prospect of college looms. As a result, higher-SES students frame college as an opportunity to leave their families and immerse themselves in an environment far from home while lower-SES students understand college as a continuation of family interdependence. Consequently, higher-SES students are more likely to apply to selective private universities in other parts of the country, while lower-SES students tend to limit their choices to primarily selective and nonselective public colleges closer to home. This research enhances our understanding of the mechanisms by which social class differences in family experiences contribute to the perpetuation of social inequality.


We focus our study on children of immigrants in science, technology, math, and engineering (STEM) fields because children of immigrants represent a diverse pool of future talent in those fields. We posit that children of immigrants may have a higher propensity to prepare for entering STEM fields, and our analysis finds some evidence to support this conjecture. Using the National Education Longitudinal Study (NELS: 88-00) and its restricted postsecondary transcript data, we examine three key milestones in the STEM pipeline: (1) highest math course taken during high school, (2) initial college major in STEM, and (3) bachelor’s degree attainment in STEM. Using individual level NELS data and country-level information from UNESCO and NSF, we find that children of immigrants of various countries of origin, with the exception of Mexicans, are more likely than children of natives to take higher-level math courses during high school. Asian and white children of immigrants are more likely to complete STEM degrees than third-generation whites. Drawing on theories of immigrant incorporation and cultural capital, we discuss the rationales for these patterns and the policy implications of these findings.


Studies of inequality in higher education on both undergraduate and graduate levels have rarely examined experiences of Asians and Pacific Islanders (APIs). In this study, we focus on the experiences and outcomes of API students in doctoral education. More specifically, we examine socialization experiences and research productivity of three groups of students: domestic API, international API, and domestic white students. The results, based on a national cohort of PhD students in biology, reveal notable differences in experiences and outcomes of domestic and international API students. Although variation in socialization experiences explains differences in research productivity in the first year, that is not the case in the second year of doctoral study. In the second year, international API students have publication productivity comparable to their white peers, despite less favorable socialization experiences. Domestic API students, however, have lower research productivity than their white peers, even though they have comparable socialization experiences. Given the presumption of APIs’ success, especially in the STEM fields, findings for domestic API students are surprising and not aligned with the model minority stereotype. Contributions to research on API students, doctoral education, and socialization theory are discussed.


Results from international large-scale assessments, such as PISA surveys, suggest that boys do better in math and science, whereas girls do better in reading. How do gender gaps vary across subjects, when estimated simultaneously? Building on the work of Tsai, Smith, and Hauser (2017), we answer this question by applying a multilevel-MIMIC model that enables us to estimate gender gaps in two ways: gender differences in the effects of observed family and school factors on math, science, and reading scores; and the “adjusted” gender gaps in test scores across all three subjects after controlling for observables. We apply the model to 2012 PISA data of students aged 15–16 and enrolled in 9th or 10th grade in three East Asian (Japan, South Korea, and Taiwan) and three Western countries (USA, Germany, and the Czech Republic) that represent both similar and different types of school systems. Our findings indicate that the gender gap in math or science achievement in Western countries, favoring boys, does not necessarily apply to the East Asian countries examined here, while all three East Asian countries exhibit similar features of gender reading gaps in the 10th grade. There is evidence indicating that observed background and school factors impact boys’ and girls’ achievement in a similar way in USA, Japan, Korea, Taiwan, and the Czech Republic, but not in Germany. Overall, gender differences in family and school influences do not account for gender differences in academic achievement in any of the six countries.


Pages 219-226
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Research in the Sociology of Education
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Emerald Publishing Limited
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