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Table 1.
Summary of Relevant Quantitative Research on Immigrant Student Performance in the United States
ArticleDataOutcomesComparison and dimensions of heterogeneityMain findings
Schwartz and Stiefel (2006)  Student-level school records in NYC Reading and math scores - Foreign-born versus native- Country of birth - Immigrants outperform natives- Disparities substantially explained by student, school characteristics 
Conger, Schwartz, and Stiefel (2007)  Student-level school records in NYC Attendance, school mobility, special education participation - Foreign-born versus native- Country of birth - Immigrants have higher rates of attendance, lower rates of special education participation, and higher rates of school mobility- Significant variation by country of origin 
Cortes (2006) CILS, 1992—1993; CCD, 1992—1993 Reading and math scores - Foreign-born versus native- Age at arrival (less than 5 years, 5—9 years, 10 or more years in the U.S.) -Test score gap between foreign-born and native students decreases the longer immigrant children reside in the U.S.- Foreign born children in enclave schools perform as well as immigrant children that attend non-enclave schools 
Glick and White (2003) HSB 1980, 1990; NELS-88, 1990, 1992 Dropout rates, reading and math scores - First-, second-, and third-generation immigrants- Age at arrival (preschool versus recent arrivals) - Immigrants in 1980s perform worse than native-born; in 1990s, they perform better in levels- In changes, immigrants about on par with native-born- Dropout rates same for immigrants and native-born 
Kao and Tienda (1995) NELS-88 Math and reading scores, college aspirations - First-, second-, and third-generation immigrants - Both first- and second-generation immigrants outperform native-born 
Kao (1999) NELS-88 High school GPA, math and reading scores - First-, second-, and third-generation immigrants - First- and second-generation immigrants do better than same-race native-born, and as well as or better than white native-born 
Portes and MacLeod (1996) Children of Immigrants; Miami, Ft. Lauderdale, San Diego, 1996 Math and reading scores - Second-generation immigrants - Parents’ socioeconomic status, length of U.S. residence, and hours spent on homework significantly affects the second-generation immigrant students’ academic performance 
Reardon and Galindo (2009) ECLS-K, KG class of 1998—99 Reading and math scores - First-, second-, and third-generation Mexican immigrants - Compared to non-Hispanic white students, Hispanic students enter kindergarten with much lower average math and reading skills-Students with Mexican and Central American origins, particularly first- and second-generation immigrants, have the lowest math and reading skill levels at kindergarten entry but show the greatest achievement gains in the early years of schooling 
Hull (2017) Student-level school records matched to birth records in North Carolina Reading and math scores - First-, second-, and third-generation Hispanic immigrants - First- and second-generation Hispanic immigrants drive the improvement in Hispanic test scores (compared to white students) between grades 3 and 8 
ArticleDataOutcomesComparison and dimensions of heterogeneityMain findings
Schwartz and Stiefel (2006)  Student-level school records in NYC Reading and math scores - Foreign-born versus native- Country of birth - Immigrants outperform natives- Disparities substantially explained by student, school characteristics 
Conger, Schwartz, and Stiefel (2007)  Student-level school records in NYC Attendance, school mobility, special education participation - Foreign-born versus native- Country of birth - Immigrants have higher rates of attendance, lower rates of special education participation, and higher rates of school mobility- Significant variation by country of origin 
Cortes (2006) CILS, 1992—1993; CCD, 1992—1993 Reading and math scores - Foreign-born versus native- Age at arrival (less than 5 years, 5—9 years, 10 or more years in the U.S.) -Test score gap between foreign-born and native students decreases the longer immigrant children reside in the U.S.- Foreign born children in enclave schools perform as well as immigrant children that attend non-enclave schools 
Glick and White (2003) HSB 1980, 1990; NELS-88, 1990, 1992 Dropout rates, reading and math scores - First-, second-, and third-generation immigrants- Age at arrival (preschool versus recent arrivals) - Immigrants in 1980s perform worse than native-born; in 1990s, they perform better in levels- In changes, immigrants about on par with native-born- Dropout rates same for immigrants and native-born 
Kao and Tienda (1995) NELS-88 Math and reading scores, college aspirations - First-, second-, and third-generation immigrants - Both first- and second-generation immigrants outperform native-born 
Kao (1999) NELS-88 High school GPA, math and reading scores - First-, second-, and third-generation immigrants - First- and second-generation immigrants do better than same-race native-born, and as well as or better than white native-born 
Portes and MacLeod (1996) Children of Immigrants; Miami, Ft. Lauderdale, San Diego, 1996 Math and reading scores - Second-generation immigrants - Parents’ socioeconomic status, length of U.S. residence, and hours spent on homework significantly affects the second-generation immigrant students’ academic performance 
Reardon and Galindo (2009) ECLS-K, KG class of 1998—99 Reading and math scores - First-, second-, and third-generation Mexican immigrants - Compared to non-Hispanic white students, Hispanic students enter kindergarten with much lower average math and reading skills-Students with Mexican and Central American origins, particularly first- and second-generation immigrants, have the lowest math and reading skill levels at kindergarten entry but show the greatest achievement gains in the early years of schooling 
Hull (2017) Student-level school records matched to birth records in North Carolina Reading and math scores - First-, second-, and third-generation Hispanic immigrants - First- and second-generation Hispanic immigrants drive the improvement in Hispanic test scores (compared to white students) between grades 3 and 8 

Notes: CILS = Children of Immigrants Longitudinal Survey; CCD = Common Core of Data; HSB = High School and Beyond; NELS = National Educational Longitudinal Study; ECLS-K = Early Childhood Longitudinal Program, Kindergarten Cohort; GPA = grade point average.

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