Research: Immigrant and refugee children’s kindergarten competencies and later academic achievement

In the Journal of Educational Psychology, a study looked at immigrant and refugee children’s kindergarten competencies and their later academic achievement.

Thriving, catching up or falling behind: Immigrant and refugee children’s kindergarten competencies and later academic achievement, by Monique Gagné, Martin Guhn, Magdalena Janus, Katholiki Georgiades, Scott D. Emerson, Constance Milbrath, Eric Duku, Carly Magee, Kimberly A. Schonert-Reichl and Anne M. Gadermann.

Excerpts from the Abstract and the Impact Statement:

Abstract

“Immigrant and refugee children and adolescents form a growing socially, culturally, and economically diverse group with the potential for wide-ranging adaptation outcomes. The goal of the study was to examine whether developmental competencies (social-emotional and academic) and sociodemographic disparities (e.g., SES and migration class) identified in kindergarten forecast the academic achievement trajectories of first- and second-generation immigrant and refugee children, from childhood to adolescence. The study used a retrospective, longitudinal, population-based design by making use of linked, individual-level administrative data from four sources… to identify a study cohort of immigrant and refugee children in British Columbia, Canada …. We utilized an analytical approach (group-based trajectory modeling) that allowed us to capture heterogeneity in the Grade 4 to Grade 10 academic (literacy and numeracy) trajectories.

“The resulting literacy and numeracy achievement trajectories were wide-ranging–some children thriving, some catching up, and some falling behind over time. Children’s developmental competencies assessed in kindergarten (literacy, numeracy, and social-emotional) were found to predict later trajectory group membership in significant and, at times, interacting ways. Trajectory group membership also differed by migration class (refugee/immigrant), generation status, socioeconomic status, English language learner status, and sex. The findings highlight the need for early, targeted school and community interventions that will help set all immigrant and refugee children onto long-term paths of positive adaptation.”

Impact Statement

“This study tracked the academic achievement of 9,216 immigrant and refugee children in British Columbia, Canada from childhood to adolescence (Grade 4 to Grade 10) and found groups that thrived over time, that were catching up, and that were falling behind. Children’s likelihood of following each of these paths depended upon their academic and social-emotional competencies in kindergarten as well as a number of other sociodemographic factors (e.g., socioeconomic status). The findings highlight the need for early, targeted school and community interventions that will help set all immigrant and refugee children onto long-term paths of positive adaptation.”

New research: Transition to adulthood of refugee and immigrant children in Canada

In the special issue of Applied Psycholinguistics, 41(S6), The Language, Literacy and Social Integration of Refugee Children and Youth, a research report entitled Transition to adulthood of refugee and immigrant children in Canada by Yoko Yoshida (Dalhousie University) and Jonathan Amoyaw (Dalhousie University).

Abstract | Résumé

“The majority of refugees are children and youth and their integration and life-course transitions are a research priority. This paper examines the timing of refugee children and youths’ entrance into the labour market and family formation (marriage/common law union and parenthood). It does so by examining how admission category, knowledge of a host country’s official languages, and age at arrival shape their transition to adulthood. Using data from the Canadian Longitudinal Immigration Database and Heckman selection estimation, the paper finds minimal variation in refugee children and youths’ entry into the labour market compared to children of other immigrant streams. It also finds that refugee children and youth start forming families at a younger age than children of economic class immigrants, but at an older age than family class children. The analysis also shows limited effects of knowledge of official language prior to arrival while age at arrival has a robust impact on their adulthood transitions. These findings shed light on the unique patterns of life-course transition among refugee children and youth and contribute to a better conceptualization of their experiences relative to children and youth of other immigrants.”

This resource is available via paid subscription, but the freely available abstract includes an extensive bibliography worth reviewing.

The Canadian Longitudinal Immigration Database, used in the research, can be found here.

C4P: Podcasts featuring CYRRC content

January 13 Update: The deadline for applications has been extended to January 22.

The Child and Youth Refugee Research Coalition (CYRRC) is a nationwide alliance of academics, community partners and government agencies working to promote the successful integration of refugee children, youth and their families.

The CYRRC has issued a Call for Proposals for individuals and groups to produce a series of podcasts using the CYRRCs research. and with the help of the CYRRC.

Please see below for more information.