Children of Foreign Origin Performing Worse in School Skip to content

Children of Foreign Origin Performing Worse in School

Children of immigrants performed worse than native Icelandic children in the OECD’s 2006 Programme for International Student Assessment (PISA) study, which compares reading abilities and knowledge of mathematics and natural sciences among 15-year-olds in 57 different countries.

The results of the study indicate that half of 15-year-old students of foreign origin in Iceland scores in skill level one in natural sciences, or below, but only one fifth of native 15-year-old student in Iceland scores in that skill level, Fréttabladid reports.

The results in reading are similar, but in mathematics, where language is not as important, the gap is narrower. Children of immigrants who came to Iceland while they were young score higher in the PISA study than children who came to Iceland in their teens.

“It is definitely related to the knowledge of the Icelandic language,” said Júlíus K. Björnsson, director of the Education Assessment Institute, emphasizing however that these results are merely an indication. Only 51 of the 15-year-old students of foreign origin in Iceland participated in the PISA study, which is just a portion of that group.

Björnsson said Icelanders have to react appropriately to these indications, otherwise we will “end up in the same poor situation with our immigrant children as in many of the countries surrounding us […] like the other Nordic countries.” There, children of foreign origin also perform worse in school due to language difficulties.

Click here to read more about the PISA study results.

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