Closing the Gap for Immigrant Students

Policies, Practice and Performance

image of Closing the Gap for Immigrant Students

OECD has conducted policy reviews of migrant education in Austria, Denmark, Ireland, the Netherlands, Norway, and Sweden and has examined the migrant education experience in many countries. This book offers comparative data on access, participation and performance of immigrant students and their native peers and identifies a set of policy options based on solid evidence of what works.

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School level policies

The country reviews have shown that to close the achievement gap between native and immigrant students, it is not enough to develop policies and curricular adaptations at the national level. Institutional changes must be made within every school, including changes in school leadership, teaching methodologies and school-home co-operation. This chapter focuses on policies and practices at the school level that can help school leaders and teachers respond to the increasing cultural and linguistic diversity of their students. The first section of this chapter is dedicated to promising language support policies and practices. Proficiency in the language of instruction is a major tool and precondition for learning. But second language development is only one aspect of responding to diversity in the practice and planning of the school. The second section, on teaching and learning environments, suggests that a whole-school approach is needed to ensure that support for immigrant students is provided not only in specialised courses but in an integrated way across the curriculum and throughout all school- and after-school activities. Finally, the third section points to the importance of developing new ways of communication and collaboration to support parental and community involvement in schools with a diverse student intake. Taken together, these three approaches can help establish a positive school and classroom climate that treats diversity as a resource rather than an obstacle for successful teaching and learning.

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