School Success And School Engagement Of Immigrant Children And Adolescent

1.   During class, we read and reviewed the article posted under jigsaw article. The article discussed school success and engagement in immigrant students, explaining some of the issues and challenges that arise such as a decline in their academic achievement and achievement motivation, and an increase in school disengagement.  At times, these issues can be explained by other concepts discussed in Chapters 8, 9, and 10 in the class textbook (Santrock, 2016), including but not limited to brain development in adolescents, identity development in adolescents, adolescent egocentrism, parental management, physical development etc. Discuss two topics from the textbook, explaining how these topics speak to the differences, challenges, and issues often experienced by adolescent youth.

In your response, please be sure to reference the passages (APA style) from Motti-Stefanidi and Masten (2016) for which you are providing an alternative explanation.

2.   What is the APA style reference for the article? Please provide it below.

**Your responses to these questions should be submitted by 11:59pm, Sunday, April 13th. Any responses submitted after the deadline will not be accepted; no exceptions.

Original Articles and Reviews

School Success and School Engagement of Immigrant Children

and Adolescents A Risk and Resilience Developmental Perspective

Frosso Motti-Stefanidi1 and Ann S. Masten2

1Department of Psychology, School of Philosophy, University of Athens, Greece, 2Institute of Child Development, University of Minnesota, Minneapolis, MN, USA

Abstract. Academic achievement in immigrant children and adolescents is an indicator of current and future adaptive success. Since the future of immigrant youths is inextricably linked to that of the receiving society, the success of their trajectory through school becomes a high stakes issue both for the individual and society. The present article focuses on school success in immigrant children and adolescents, and the role of school engagement in accounting for individual and group differences in academic achievement from the perspective of a multilevel integrative model of immigrant youths’ adaptation (Motti-Stefanidi, Berry, Chryssoc- hoou, Sam, & Phinney, 2012). Drawing on this conceptual framework, school success is examined in developmental and acculturative context, taking into account multiple levels of analysis. Findings suggest that for both immigrant and nonimmigrant youths the relationship between school engagement and school success is bidirec- tional, each influencing over time the other. Evidence regarding potential moderating and mediating roles of school engagement for the academic success of immigrant youths also is evaluated.

Keywords: immigration, adolescents, school success, school engagement, resilience

School constitutes one of the most important developmental contexts for young people in contemporary societies (Eccles, 2009). For immigrant children and adolescents, schools also serve as a primary acculturative context, since they represent and introduce immigrants to the culture of the receiving society (Horenzcyk & Tartar, 2012; Su�rez- Orozco & Su�rez-Orozco, 2001). In fact, in most countries, schools teach their students – nonimmigrants and immi- grants alike – the behaviors and values that are considered important for the welfare of both young people and the rest of society, thus supporting the enculturation of the former and the acculturation of the latter (Vedder & Horenzcyk, 2006).

School success is an indicator of positive adaptation, concurrently and over time, both from the viewpoint of development (Eccles, 2009; Masten & Motti-Stefanidi, 2009; Pianta, 2006) and acculturation (Berry, Phinney, Sam, & Vedder, 2006). It is a broad predictor of positive adult outcomes, such as work success, and school success also is associated with lower levels of societal problems

such as welfare dependency, teen-age pregnancy, and crim- inal behavior. Concomitantly, school failure often predicts future difficulties across these domains, with serious impli- cations for both youngsters and society at large. Research on developmental cascades, where successes or problems in one domain of behavior spread to other domains over time, often has implicated academic success or failure in key mediating roles (see Masten & Cicchetti, 2010). Given that children and adolescents with an immigration back- ground comprise a sizable and integral part of many con- temporary societies, assuring that they have a successful trajectory through school becomes a high stakes issue not only for them but also for the whole of society (Masten, Liebkind, & Hernandez, 2012).

This paper focuses on school success in immigrant youths and the role of school engagement as a predictor of individual and group differences in academic achieve- ment. The discussion is framed in terms of a new, multi- level integrative model of adaptation in immigrant children and adolescents, briefly presented in the first

European Psychologist 2013; Vol. 18(2):126–135 DOI: 10.1027/1016-9040/a000139

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section (Motti-Stefanidi, Berry, Chryssochoou, Sam, & Phinney, 2012). Subsequently, in the first section, immigrant youths’ school success is discussed in develop- mental and acculturative context as an index of positive adaptation, and evidence is examined on the current and longitudinal academic achievement of immigrant compared with nonimmigrant youths. In the second section, school engagement is defined, and research is discussed on the sig- nificance of engagement and changes in engagement for the success of immigrant and nonimmigrant children and adolescents, including contextual influences. In the third section, evidence is reviewed on the predictive value of school engagement for school success in immigrant and nonimmigrant youths.

It is important to note that comparisons of studies from North America and Europe must be interpreted with cau- tion because of significant differences in who is considered to be an ‘‘immigrant’’ on the two sides of the Atlantic and within Europe. In many US publications, children who were born in the US of immigrant parents or grandparents are often referred to as minority children rather than as immigrants. North American studies of minority children may include, in Ogbu’s (1991) terms, both voluntary (e.g., children of immigrant descent) and involuntary (e.g., African American children) minorities. In contrast, for studies of children of economic immigrants who have settled in European countries, children of immigrant des- cent are referred to, in most cases, as immigrants, even after two and three generations. However, France and Britain, two ex-colonial powers, describe their immigrants differ- ently. French studies refer to their immigrants as French of X-origin, while British studies refer to them as ethnic minorities. This review considers comparative studies from both sides of the Atlantic, involving young people with an immigration background, as well as indigenous minorities (e.g., African American children). These groups share com- mon experiences of racism, prejudice, and discrimination, and are often overrepresented in poverty social groups. These challenges have been documented to account for sig- nificant difficulties in children’s and adolescents’ adaptation (e.g., Garc�a-Coll, Lamberty, et al., 1996).

Immigrant Children’s and Adolescents’ School Success

A new multilevel framework recently was developed by Motti-Stefanidi, Berry, et al. (2012) to integrate influential approaches to group and individual differences in immi- grant youngsters’ adaptation. This conceptual framework was influenced by these four approaches in particular: the three-level model of immigrant adaptation proposed by Verkuyten (2005), a social psychologist studying issues of ethnicity and migration; Bronfenbrenner’s bioecological model of human development (Bronfenbrenner & Morris, 2006); Berry’s cultural transmission model (Berry, Poortinga, Breugelmans, Chasiotis, & Sam, 2011); and the risk and resilience framework (Masten, 2007).

This model offers integrated criteria for judging positive adaptation in immigrant children, encompassing both developmental and acculturation perspectives. Three major criteria are proposed for judging the adaptive success of immigrant children and adolescents: (a) success in age-sali- ent developmental tasks, (b) success in acculturative tasks, and (c) psychological well-being.

Academic achievement, along with conduct and peer competence, is a core developmental task for school-age children and adolescents in many economically advanced countries, regardless of immigrant status (Masten & Motti-Stefanidi, 2009). Developmental tasks refer broadly to the psychosocial challenges and milestones that individ- uals are expected to engage and accomplish over the life course. Judgments about how well development is proceed- ing are made on the basis of meeting these expectations and standards for behavior and achievement, by parents, teach- ers, and other members of society, and eventually by most young people themselves (McCormick, Kuo, & Masten, 2011). Perceived failure in these tasks can harm the well- being of youths or disappoint stakeholders in the family or society.

In developmental task theory, as well as implicit theo- ries held by members of society, success in the develop- mental tasks of one period of development is believed to forecast success or failure in future tasks: ‘‘competence begets competence’’ (Masten, Burt, & Coatsworth, 2006; Sroufe, Egeland, Carlson, & Collins, 2005). This theory is one of the reasons parents and societies are concerned about how children are doing in regard to these standards of development. Achievement or failure in these tasks also may have cascading consequences across multiple domains of adaptation, including competence and psychopathology (Masten & Cicchetti, 2010).

Immigrant children and adolescents are faced not only with normative developmental challenges, such as doing well in school, but also acculturative challenges. They must deal with the tasks of learning the language, values, beliefs, behaviors, and customs of the receiving society, in addition to those of their home culture (Oppedal, 2006), as well as the challenges of bridging their different worlds (Cooper, 2003), and developing positive ethnic and national identi- ties (Phinney, Horenzcyk, Liebkind, & Vedder, 2001).

Developmental and acculturative tasks are intricately related (Motti-Stefanidi, Berry, et al., 2012). For example, doing well in school requires the immigrant student to have achieved a level of competence in the academic language (Su�rez-Orozco, Su�rez-Orozco, & Todorova, 2010) and other facets of the receiving society’s culture (Berry, Phinney, Sam, & Vedder, 2006; Motti-Stefanidi, Pavlopou- los, Obradović, & Masten, 2008), and is, therefore, an indica- tor that both development and acculturation are proceeding well (Motti-Stefanidi, Berry, et al., 2012).

Immigrant youngsters, who must navigate between mul- tiple cultures that may differ in values, norms, and expecta- tions, often face two sets of developmental tasks, those defined by the dominant culture and those defined by their parents and ethnic group (Oppedal, 2006; Sam, 2006). At times, these different sets of developmental tasks may be at odds with each other, exposing immigrant children and

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adolescents to conflicting developmental goals, expecta- tions, and relatedly socialization practices, and rendering their adaptation more challenging than it is for their nonimmigrant peers, with potential consequences for their psychological well-being (Motti-Stefanidi, Berry, et al., 2012). In the case of school success, however, such dispar- ities are rarely reported; immigrant parents, immigrant chil- dren, and their teachers often all value school success. Doing well in school is considered by many immigrant families and their immigrant children as the avenue for upward social mobility and for a better life than their par- ents had (Fuligni, 1997; Su�rez-Orozco et al., 2010), although significant variability is documented in the ability of first generation immigrant youngsters and their families to translate their high aspirations and investment in educa- tion into academic success (Fuligni, 2011).

The criteria by which to evaluate the success of immi- grant children and adolescents in school are central to research on the adaptation of immigrant youths and inter- ventions aiming to foster their success. What level of school performance could be argued to be ‘‘good enough,’’ in the eyes of society, teachers, parents, or the young people themselves? In developmental theory, success in meeting developmental expectations and standards for behavior and achievement does not require that children exhibit ‘‘ideal’’ or ‘‘superb’’ effectiveness, but rather that they should be doing adequately well with respect to develop- mental task expectations (Masten et al., 2006).

A related question is whether their school performance should be compared to that of their nonimmigrant class- mates or to that of their classmates from the same ethnic group. Some have argued that when the purpose of predic- tion relates to future adaptation in the receiving society, then immigrant children and adolescents should be com- pared with their nonimmigrant peers (Motti-Stefanidi, Asendorpf, & Masten, 2012; Motti-Stefanidi, Berry, et al., 2012). For example, doing adequately well in school pre- supposes receiving grades that are comparable to the nor- mative performance of nonimmigrant students, and not dropping out of school early, since these are important markers of future adaptation in society for both immigrant and nonimmigrant youths.

An increasing number of studies, conducted in different European countries and in North America, have compared the quality of immigrant and nonimmigrant youngsters’ adaptation with respect to developmental tasks, including academic achievement, and their psychological well-being. An initially surprising finding that emerged from these studies was that some immigrant students are doing better in school than their nonimmigrant peers, and in any case better than expected given the fact that they live with higher socioeconomic risk (Berry et al., 2006; Garcia-Coll & Marks, 2011). This phenomenon, known as the ‘‘immigrant paradox,’’ refers to the finding that first generation immi- grant children and adolescents have better outcomes than later generation immigrant youths and their nonimmigrant classmates. These results were unexpected because first generation immigrant youngsters often experience higher socioeconomic adversity and are less acculturated, includ-

ing being less competent in the language of the receiving society, than later generation immigrant youths.

The immigrant paradox pattern was not universally observed in research and it appears to depend to a large extent on the domain of adaptation, the receiving society, and the ethnic group. With respect to the domain of adaptation, Sam, Vedder, Liebkind, Neto, and Virta (2008) found that the immigrant paradox seems to hold for adaptation with respect to developmental tasks, such as is academic achieve- ment, but not with respect to psychological well-being. In contrast to these findings, other researchers have reported a significant achievement gap between immigrant and nonim- migrant children and adolescents (e.g., Cooper, 2003; Motti- Stefanidi, Pavlopoulos, Obradovic, Dalla, et al., 2008). An OECD (2010) review of reading performance of immigrant youths at age 15, based on data from 20 countries, reports that in most countries (except Australia, Canada, Ireland, and New Zealand) immigrant students have on average lower reading performance compared to nonimmigrant students. In keeping with the latter findings, Garcia-Coll, Patton, Marks, Dimitrova, et al. (2012), summarizing the results of studies focusing on the academic achievement of immigrant children and adolescents, pointed out that the immigrant par- adox is more consistently found in educational attitudes and behavior, such as time spent preparing homework, than in grades and test scores.

The presence or absence of the immigrant paradox also depends on the receiving society. For example, Dimitrova, Van de Vijver, Chasiotis, and Bender (2011), based on a meta-analysis drawing from 43 studies conducted in differ- ent European countries, found more evidence in Northern, than in Southern, Europe for the existence of the immigrant paradox with respect to academic achievement, and inter- nalizing or externalizing problems. The authors argued that this finding could possibly be explained by the more extended implementation of multicultural policies in North- ern European countries. However, this finding does not seem to replicate in the above-mentioned OECD (2010) report, at least with respect to reading performance. According to this report, in most European countries, sec- ond generation immigrant students have higher reading per- formance scores than first generation, and immigrant students, independently of generation, have lower reading performance scores than nonimmigrant students.

Finally, different ethnic groups living within the same receiving society may also present significantly different developmental outcomes; some being better adjusted than others. For example, Fuligni (1997) found in his longitudinal study of the academic achievement of different immigrant groups living in the US that students from East Asia had higher academic performance than students from Europe and the Philippines, who in turn had a higher academic per- formance than students from Latin America. Fuligni (2011) argued that the superiority in academic achievement of stu- dents from Asian countries might be related to selection forces at play during the migration process, and suggested that immigrant children and adolescents from Asia started out with a socioeconomic advantage over their Latin Amer- ican, and even their American-born, counterparts.

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In addition to individual and group differences in immi- grant young people’s mean level of academic achievement, recent longitudinal studies have examined interindividual differences in their intraindividual development. Decreases in academic achievement widely reported in early adoles- cence among nonimmigrant youngsters, which have been found to be generally more pronounced among youths from disadvantaged backgrounds (see Wigfield, Eccles, Schiefele, Roeser, & Davis-Kean, 2006), also have been found in immigrant samples. Motti-Stefanidi, Asendorpf, et al. (2012), for example, found that after controlling for socioeconomic adversity and despite initial differences favoring nonimmigrant youngsters, academic achievement decreased equally across the secondary school years in immigrant and nonimmigrant samples. This parallel decline suggested that the decrease may reflect similar develop- mental-contextual processes rather than representing accul- turative phenomena.

Nonetheless, significant diversity within immigrant groups in their academic achievement pathways also has been found. For example, Su�rez-Orozco et al. (2010) reported five academic achievement trajectories across a 5-year period in their sample of recently arrived immigrant children and adolescents, which were 11.8 years of age at the start of the study. About two-thirds of these students fol- lowed one of the three declining trajectories, that is, being either slow decliners, or precipitous decliners, or low achievers; yet the other third of their sample resisted this pattern of decline and were either consistently high achiev- ers or improving students. Moreover, ethnic group differ- ences were also found in these academic pathways, such that about two-thirds of the Chinese students were among the high achievers or the improvers, and, in contrast, 40% of the Dominicans were among the precipitous decliners.

Using the multilevel model of immigrant children’s and adolescents’ adaptation, Motti-Stefanidi, Berry, et al. (2012) propose that at least three levels be taken into account to explain the diversity of achievement pathways: the societal level, the level of interaction (individuals and their contexts), and the individual level. The three levels of the model are viewed as interconnected and embedded within each other (Motti-Stefanidi, Berry, et al., 2012). Thus, for example, students are nested in schools and schools are nested in societies. Moreover, the influences, relationships, and interactions between, and within, levels are viewed as bidirectional.

The societal level includes variables such as cultural beliefs, social representations, and ideologies, as well as, variables that reflect power positions within society (e.g., social class, ethnicity) that have been shown to have an impact on immigrants’ adaptation. These variables may have an impact on the child either directly (e.g., through the media), or indirectly by filtering through the contexts of the middle level (e.g., the school). For example, individ- ual differences in academic achievement are predicted, independently, by immigrant status and socioeconomic adversity (e.g., Motti-Stefanidi, Pavlopoulos, Obradović, Dalla, et al., 2008), as well as by perceived discrimination against the self (e.g., Motti-Stefanidi & Asendorpf, 2012; Wong, Eccles, & Sameroff, 2003).

The middle level concerns the interactions that shape the individual life course of immigrants, which take place in contexts, such as the family, the school, and peer groups. These contexts serve the purpose both of development and acculturation, and are divided into those representing the home culture (family, ethnic peers, ethnic group) and into those representing the host culture (school, native peers). For example, individual differences in academic achieve- ment are predicted by school factors, such as teacher expec- tations, and treatment of students (Eccles, 2009), or by family factors, such as the immigrant family’s support of the child’s academic activities, and their strong aspirations (e.g., see Garcia-Coll & Marks, 2011). The contexts of this middle level of the model are the arena where both societal level variables, such as culture, ethnicity, and social class, are instantiated, and individual differences in the person’s characteristics are expressed.

The individual level concerns intraindividual character- istics, such as personality, cognition, and motivation. For example, individual differences in academic achievement are predicted by immigrant students’ self-efficacy beliefs (Motti-Stefanidi et al., 2012), and by a strong motivation to succeed in school (Fuligni, 1997). School engagement also is an individual-level predictor of immigrant and non- immigrant students’ academic achievement (e.g., Li & Lerner, 2011).

No precedence is given either to the individual as sole agent, or to society as sole determinant of individual differ- ences in immigrant children’s and adolescents’ adaptation. Instead, it is argued that both the individual and society, that is, both sociocultural circumstances and structures, and human agency play a central role in the adaptive pro- cesses that lead to the success (or failure) of immigrant youngsters.

The levels of this integrative model refer to system lev- els of context. However, the concept of levels can also refer to levels of analysis, or scientific explanation. The influence of each of the levels of context (individual, level of interac- tion, societal) on adaptation can be examined at different levels of scientific explanation. These two conceptions of levels are interrelated, yet distinct. For example, the influ- ence of socioeconomic status, a societal level variable, on adaptation can be examined at the individual level of anal- ysis, by assigning to each study participant a score reflect- ing the SES standing of the family, or at the level of interaction, by assigning a score on mean SES to schools. At the individual level of analysis, students’ low SES (after controlling for immigrant status) has been found to predict negatively academic achievement (e.g., Motti-Stefanidi et al., 2012; OECD, 2010). At the school level of analysis, students were found to perform better in schools with a higher average socioeconomic composition (e.g., Motti-Stefanidi et al., 2012; OECD, 2010).

Influences at each of these three levels may contribute independently, or in interaction with each other, to individ- ual differences in immigrant children’s and adolescents’ academic achievement. Regarding the independent contri- bution of each level of analysis to adaptation, the following hypotheses could be advanced on the basis of the literature, according to this model. Immigrant youngsters who (1) live

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in a society that has a multicultural ideology, and/or (2) are embedded in schools, family, and/or peer groups, which are well functioning and better able to deal with the challenges of immigration, and/or (3) have positive personal character- istics, such as good cognitive skills, self-efficacy, and are conscientious and high on openness to experience, would be expected to have higher academic achievement than youths who do not have these contextual and/or personal resources. These hypotheses point to the possibility that variables from each of three levels of analysis may pro- mote, or may instead present challenges and obstacles, for immigrant children’s and adolescents’ school success. In this respect, influences stemming from each of these dif- ferent levels of analysis, independently or in conjunction, could function either as risk or as promotive factors for adaptation.

However, influences arising from these three levels of analysis would be expected most typically to contribute to immigrant youngsters’ academic achievement in interac- tion with each other. The effect of contextual challenges, such as discrimination or low SES, often facing immigrant youths and their families, may be moderated by character- istics of the young people and by proximal relational pro- cesses, the presence of which may modify in a positive direction the expected outcome. For example, it has been found that positive connections to their ethnic group mod- erate the negative association between perceived discrimi- nation and academic achievement for adolescents, with feelings of positive connection showing a protective effect (Wong et al., 2003).

Immigrant Children’s and Adolescents’ School Engagement

School engagement is a multidimensional construct, often delineated in terms of two or three components (Appleton, Christenson, & Furlong, 2008; Fredericks, Blumenfeld, & Paris, 2004). It has been characterized as a meta-construct, uniting multiple components (Fredericks et al., 2004). However, there is considerable variability across the defini- tions of these components. As a result it is a challenge to compare results across studies.

Three aspects of school engagement have received extensive attention in the literature: behavioral, emotional, and cognitive engagement (Fredericks et al., 2004). Behav- ioral engagement refers to the degree to which students participate in the academic, social, and extracurricular activities of the school. Students who show high behavioral engagement are those who do their best in their classwork and homework, turn in assignments on time, show positive conduct in the classroom and the school, and maintain good attendance. Emotional engagement refers to students’ affec- tive reactions in the classroom, such as happiness, boredom, anxiety, and interest. Cognitive engagement refers to the degree to which students have invested in their learning, exert the effort needed to understand complex ideas and master difficult skills, and show the desire to go beyond the requirements.

A number of studies on school engagement combine items assessing different types of engagement (behavioral, emotional, cognitive), into a single, general engagement scale, whereas others use discrete and distinct scales to assess at least two and sometimes three of these aspects of engagement. The practice of using a single scale combin- ing items has been criticized because it masks the unique contribution of each type of engagement and the fact that different types of engagement may develop differently dur- ing the period of adolescence (Fredericks et al., 2004).

An OECD (2003) report on 15-year-old students’ engagement at school, based on cross-sectional data from 43 countries, focused on two dimensions: sense of belong- ing and school attendance. According to this report, about one in four or five students can be considered disaffected from school in terms of their sense of belonging or their participation, respectively. Being foreign-born (i.e., first generation immigrant) and living in a family of low SES status, as well as attending a school with a lower average socioeconomic composition, were related to greater student disengagement.

Furthermore, in addition to decreases in academic achievement across the secondary school years, researchers have reported steep declines in students’ achievement moti- vation, including increases in student boredom and apathy, and feelings of alienation from, and disinterest in, school, that often foreshadow dropping out from the school system (Eccles, 2009). In a recent study, Wang and Eccles (2012) reported that the average trajectories for all of their mea- sures of school engagement, including school compliance, extracurricular activity, participation, school identification, and subjective valuing of learning at school, decreased from 7th to 11th grades.

However, in contrast to the general declines across the high school years in achievement motivation reported in the literature, significant diversity has been reported by studies focusing on patterns of school engagement within individuals. Janosz, Archambault, Morizot, and Pagani (2008) studied the developmental trajectories of school engagement in a very large sample (N = 13,330) of adoles- cents who were 12 years of age at the start of the study. They used a global school engagement score based on items assessing all three types. They found that a vast majority of students followed stable trajectories ranging from moderate to very high levels of school engagement.

Even though the steep declines in school engagement across adolescence are far from a universal phenomenon, this declining pattern appears to be particularly characteris- tic of academic motivation pathways for minority young- sters. In a very recent study, Li and Lerner (2011) studied the development of the behavioral and emotional engage- ment of a sample of adolescents from diverse ethnic and racial backgrounds who were at wave 1–11 years old. They identified four discrete trajectories for both types of engage- ment. The majority of students experienced a moderate, but stable, level of behavioral engagement, or had a declining pathway, but about one fifth of the students experienced a high and stable trajectory of behavioral engagement. In contrast, all four emotional engagement trajectories headed downwards, suggesting that although some students

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experience stability in their behavioral engagement, most feel over the years less connected to school. Students’ sex, SES, and ethnic group differentiated these results. In general, boys, African American students, and young people from low SES families tended to be in less favorable trajectory groups for both types of school engagement. Furthermore, Latino students were more likely to belong to the less favorable trajectory of emotional engagement, and African American students in the less favorable trajectories of behavioral engagement.

In a globalized world with a fast-changing economy that demands knowledgeable workers, it has become imperative that young people stay long enough in school to acquire the knowledge and skills that will allow them to succeed later on in life. School engagement can be seen as an antidote to students’ declining interest in, and increasing alienation from, school (Fredericks et al., 2004). As a result, the study of the antecedents and consequences of school engagement, and its relationship with school success, is currently burgeoning.

A useful distinction has been drawn between indicators of engagement, such as those described above, and facilita- tors of engagement, which refer to contextual predictors of students’ engagement (Appleton et al., 2008). For immi- grant children and adolescents, qualities of the proximal contexts of family, the school, and peers, have all been implicated as facilitators of school engagement (Fredericks’ et al., 2004). For example, the values, goals, and belief sys- tems of immigrant parents, such as placing high value on academic achievement or their beliefs regarding the possi- ble external barriers to success, such as anticipated future discrimination, can influence their parenting behaviors related to the school achievement domain and their chil- dren’s motivation (Wigfield et al., 2006). Similarly, immi- grant peers’ attitudes toward, and support of, education and achievement are expected to positively predict immigrant youngsters’ school engagement (Fuligni, 1997).

Finally, schools that respect their students’ fundamental needs for competence, autonomy, and relatedness are expected to promote their self-determined behavior, intrin- sic motivation, sense of belonging to their school, as well as their engagement with the learning process (Roeser, Eccles, & Sameroff 1998; also see Wigfield et al., 2006). For example, meaningful and relevant curricula, related to stu- dents’ own interests and goals, promote greater school engagement and intrinsic motivation in all students, but may be especially important for immigrant children and adolescents who need to navigate between two cultures. Similarly, school-based caring relationships with teachers have been shown to be particularly important for immigrant youngsters, supporting them to adjust to the new country, language, and educational demands (Su�rez-Orozco, Pimentel, & Martin, 2009). Conchas (2001) found in his qualitative research of the school engagement of Latin American immigrant students, that when schools combine academic rigor with strong collaborative relationships between teachers and immigrant students, the students are behaviorally more engaged and academically more success- ful. Furthermore, Green, Rhodes, Hirsch, Suarez-Orozco, and Camic (2008) found that recently arrived immigrant

students’ perceptions of social support from teachers fluctu- ate from year to year and that these fluctuations are linked to immigrant children’s and adolescents’ engagement in school.

Immigrant students’ personal agency also may promote school engagement and success. Conchas (2001) reported that students who were successful in school also actively sought out institutional agents and formed supportive rela- tionships with teachers and mentors who then promoted their school engagement and helped them succeed.

School Engagement as a Predictor of Immigrant Youngsters School Success

School engagement is an individual level variable that, based on the multilevel model of immigrant adaptation, could help explain individual and group differences in immigrant children’s and adolescents’ academic achieve- ment. In this section, we, first, consider the evidence that school engagement contributes independently, as a promo- tive factor, and/or in interaction with immigrant status, as a protective factor, to students’ school success. Second, we examine the possible mediating role of school engagement linking immigrant status as a risk factor to school success. Finally, we discuss the meaning of ethnic group differences in the relationship between school success and school engagement.

The first hypothesis stemming from the conceptual framework is that school engagement will contribute to individual differences in all students’ school success, inde- pendently of immigrant status, although this relationship is expected to be bidirectional. In this case, school engage- ment would be considered a general promotive factor for academic achievement.

Most of the early studies examining the relationship between school success and school engagement were cross-sectional, which provides little insight about the direction of effects. These studies have consistently shown that school engagement is generally associated with the school success of all children, and adolescents, indepen- dently of immigrant, minority, or social status (Fredericks et al., 2004). Low school engagement is related to cutting class, skipping school, being suspended and retained; all of which are precursors to dropping out of school. How- ever, the OECD (2003) review on students’ school engage- ment, mentioned earlier, examined person-focused analyses, which showed that there were two distinct groups of students with a low sense of belonging to school, one that has relatively high, and another that has very low, aca- demic achievement. According to these authors, the pres- ence of these two clusters explains why there was a weak correlation observed between sense of belonging and literacy skills.

During the past few years, a number of longitudinal studies on school engagement and its relationship to various education outcomes have appeared. These studies have the potential to be more informative about the possible direc- tionality of links between engagement and success in

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school. Some of these studies linked school engagement trajectories to outcomes, such as academic achievement, dropping out of school, conduct problems, and depression (e.g., Li & Lerner, 2011), whereas others predicted aca- demic achievement trajectories from school engagement (e.g., Johnson, McGue, & Lacono, 2006). All of these stud- ies show a strong connection between engagement and out- comes, independent of immigrant or social status.

Li and Lerner (2011) found that, independently of their status in society, youngsters who followed the highest path- ways of behavioral or emotional engagement tended to have better academic outcomes, to be less depressed, and to be less likely to be involved in delinquent activities, than children and adolescents who followed more problematic engagement pathways. This result is congruent with a gen- eral promotive role of school engagement for school suc- cess. However, it should be kept in mind that immigrant and minority groups in this study tend to follow more prob- lematic school engagement pathways across adolescence.

In a longitudinal study of immigrant adolescents and their nonimmigrant classmates in Greece, Motti-Stefanidi et al. (2012) used cross-lagged regression models to study the interrelations between school engagement and academic achievement across the three waves of the study. They found that behavioral engagement was positively related to academic achievement in the first year of middle school, and that achievement more strongly influenced change in engagement in the next year than vice versa. These results suggest bidirectionality of effects, although the asymmetry observed in the results suggested that the effects of achieve- ment on engagement may be greater than the effect of engagement on achievement.

Other longitudinal studies examining the relationship between these variables, which either focused on nonimmi- grant, or only on immigrant, children, and adolescents, also reveal a strong connection between school engagement and educational outcomes. For example, Janosz et al. (2008) found that youngsters, following one of their four problem- atic trajectories of school engagement, accounted for the vast majority of their school dropouts. This trajectory pat- tern was characterized by a rapid decrease in engagement and/or by low levels of engagement already at the begin- ning of adolescence. In their variable-focused longitudinal study, Johnson et al. (2006) found that school engagement and IQ predict both initial level (at age 11), and changes in academic achievement (from ages 11 to 17 years), over and above a number of familial risk factors. Finally, Su�rez-Orozco et al. (2010), focusing only on immigrant students, found that the two more robust predictors of aca- demic achievement pathways of their recently arrived immigrant adolescents were English language proficiency and behavioral engagement, in that order.

Thus, the literature is consistent with the hypothesis that school engagement is an independent predictor or correlate of school success, for immigrant as well as nonimmigrant students. The second hypothesis generated by the multilevel integrative model of immigrant adaptation is that school engagement may moderate the relationship between contextual risk (here, immigrant status, when it is proven to be a risk factor) and adaptation. From a resilience

viewpoint, school engagement would be considered a pro- tective factor for immigrant children’s and adolescents’ aca- demic achievement if it could be consistently demonstrated that school engagement is particularly important for the success of immigrant youngsters, beyond its general (promotive) effects on success for all students. In this case, the expected positive relationship between academic achievement and school engagement would be more pronounced in immigrant than in nonimmigrant youths.

Finn (1993), using a national sample of 15,737 eighth- grade, public school students, examined the association between school engagement and academic achievement. He found both a linear and a quadratic trend, which indi- cated, first, that as engagement increased so did academic achievement, and, second, that this positive impact was greater for a high, but not for a moderate, level of engage- ment. He argued that engagement seems to have a ‘‘rich-get-richer’’ quality. However, Finn did not find an interaction between race/ethnicity or SES status and engagement on achievement, suggesting that this trend held equally for all groups, independently of demographic risk factors. Results from this study are congruent with the pos- sibility of a general, promotive role of school engagement, but not an extra ‘‘protective’’ role in the academic resilience of immigrant children and adolescents. Motti-Stefanidi et al. (2012) found that the longitudinal relationship between school engagement and GPA held for both immi- grant and nonimmigrant groups.

Over and above the promotive and/or protective role of school engagement for academic achievement, engagement could mediate the connection between contextual risk con- veyed by immigrant status (where and when it is a risk fac- tor for adaptation), and school success. As a possible mediator, school engagement could, at least partially, explain the relationship between immigrant status and adaptation, since immigrant status is related to, even though it is not the same as, SES adversity, negative life events, and discrimination, which are known risk factors for both youngsters’ school engagement and their achievement (e.g., Motti-Stefanidi, Pavlopoulos, Obradovic, Dalla, et al., 2008; Roeser et al., 1998; Wong et al., 2003). The mediating role of school engagement for the school success of immigrant children and adolescents has not been directly tested. However, school engagement is seen as the route via which contextual and self-constructs, such as motivation to learn, could influence academic outcomes (Appleton et al., 2008). Furthermore, a number of interventions conducted in schools, which focus, for example, on implementing curric- ular or instructional reforms or on improving the school climate, consider students’ school engagement, either explicitly or implicitly, to be an essential pathway to increasing academic achievement and/or decreasing dropout rates (see Fredericks et al., 2004).

The focus in this section has been on the role of school engagement for individual differences in immigrant chil- dren’s and adolescents’ adaptation. However, school engagement has also been argued to account for ethnic group differences within a society in young people’s aca- demic achievement. As was discussed earlier, adolescents from certain immigrant and minority groups, living in the

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same country, have worse academic achievement than ado- lescents from other groups. For example, Latino and African American students in North America perform less well in school than East Asian students. Steele and Aronson (1995) proposed the social psychological concept of stereo- type threat to account for this phenomenon. They argued that the former students face negative societal stereotypes about their group’s intellectual ability and competence. This stereotype is often experienced as a self-evaluative threat. Students fear to confirm it or to be judged by it. To protect their self-esteem, they may devalue school achievement and detach their self-esteem from both negative and posi- tive academic experiences. In support of this argument, Motti-Stefanidi, Pavlopoulos, Obradović, Dalla, and col- leagues (2008) actually found that even though the school grades of their immigrant samples were significantly lower than those of their nonimmigrant groups, their self-esteem did not differ significantly. The mechanism described by Steele and Aronson (1995) may protect immigrant and minority youths’ self-esteem from stereotype threat, while at the same time leading to negative effects on school engagement and motivation and ultimately school achieve- ment. In that line, Motti-Stefanidi et al. (2012) found that lower academic achievement in one school grade was a stronger predictor of negative change in school engagement in the next school grade than vice versa. It is not clear, how- ever, whether school engagement plays a role in the pro- cesses protecting self-esteem.

Ogbu (1991) offered in his cultural ecological model a different explanation for the lower academic achievement of African American students, and at the same time for the higher academic achievement of some immigrant groups. He argued that African American students, who are an involuntary minority in the US, do not find much rea- son to engage in their school activities and to try to succeed in school, because they believe that, compared to European Americans, they have limited opportunities to participate meaningfully in the economic structure of their country. Therefore, they develop an oppositional identity, resisting their teachers’ attempts to engage them in the learning pro- cess or help them adapt in the school context, with negative consequences for their academic achievement. In contrast, voluntary minorities, which refer to students of immigrant descent, such as are East Asian students, regard their current situation in the US more positively than their situation in their country of origin. Therefore, they often regard their schooling more positively, and apply themselves in their studies, which facilitates their school success.

Though evidence is limited, research findings do not support Ogbu’s hypothesis. Wong and colleagues (2003), for example, found that the anticipation of future discrimi- nation in the labor market, contrary to Ogbu’s theorizing, was related to increases in African American youths’ school engagement and motivation to do well in school, and in their academic achievement. Students seemed to be moti- vated to equip themselves to deal with future discrimina- tion. It was perceived discrimination against the self in the school context, they found, that leads to declines in school engagement and academic achievement, and to increases in depression and anger.

Summary and Conclusions

Immigrant status often was found, in spite of the widely discussed immigrant paradox, to be a risk factor for level and change in academic achievement. Similarly, it was related to higher student disengagement, and to steeper declines in student engagement. However, significant vari- ability was documented in both level and change of aca- demic achievement and school engagement within and between immigrant and nonimmigrant groups.

Both school success and school engagement, in the lit- erature reviewed here, were related to similar risk and pro- motive factors for immigrant and nonimmigrant children and adolescents. Academic resilience appeared to depend on common resources and related adaptive processes at the level or individual, context, and/or society. While other contributors to individual differences in academic achieve- ment and school engagement may show differential influ- ences for immigrant and nonimmigrant youngsters, factors examined here appeared to work in similar ways, consistent with developmental theory on promotive effects for competence in developmental tasks.

Consistently with the previous findings, school engage- ment appeared to be a general promotive factor for the aca- demic achievement of all children and adolescents, independently of immigrant status. However, current evi- dence suggests that their relationship is bidirectional, and that the effects of achievement on engagement may be greater than the effect of engagement on achievement (Motti-Stefanidi, Masten, & Asendorpf, 2012). Evidence on the moderating and mediating role of school engage- ment linking immigrant status and academic achievement is still scant. Similarly, the role of school engagement/dis- engagement in explaining the stereotype threat, and in the protection of minorities’ self-esteem needs further exploration.

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