Big gender gap in students attitudes and engagement in global and multicultural issues

New interesting element to the OECD’s PISA assessment. Detailed review on my to do list to see if interesting immigrant/non-immigrant comparisons:

Schools and education systems are failing to give boys and girls across the world the same opportunities to learn and apply their knowledge of global and multicultural issues, according to a new report on the first OECD PISA assessment of the knowledge, skills and attitudes of students to engage with other people and cultures.

Are Students Ready to Thrive in an Interconnected World? focused on students’ knowledge of issues of local and global significance, including public health, economic and environmental issues, as well as their intercultural knowledge, skills and attitudes. Students from 27 countries and economies took the test. Students, teachers, parents and school principals from around 66 countries and economies completed a questionnaire*.

The results reveal a gender gap in access to opportunities to learn global competence as well as in students’ global and intercultural skills and attitudes. On average across OECD countries, boys were more likely than girls to report taking part in activities where they are expected to express and discuss their views, while girls were more likely than boys to report taking part in activities related to intercultural understanding and communication.

Boys, for example, were more likely to learn about the interconnectedness of countries’ economies, look for news on the Internet or watch the news together during class. They were also more likely to be asked by teachers to give their opinion about international news, take part in classroom discussions about world events and analyse global issues with their classmates.

In contrast, girls were more likely than boys to report that they learn how to solve conflicts with their peers in the classroom, learn about different cultures and learn how people from different cultures can have different perspectives on some issues. These gender differences could reflect personal interests and self-efficacy but could also reflect how girls and boys are socialised at home and at school, according to the report.

“Education is key to helping young people navigate today’s increasingly complex and interconnected world,” said Andreas Schleicher, OECD Director for Education and Skills. “The schools and education systems that are most successful in fostering global knowledge, skills and attitudes among young people are those that offer a curriculum that values openness to the world, provide a positive and inclusive learning environment and offer opportunities to relate to people from other cultures.”

The findings reveal the key role teachers play in promoting and integrating intercultural understanding into their classroom practices and lessons. Most teachers reported that they are confident in their ability to teach in multicultural settings. But the lack of adequate professional development opportunities in this field is a major challenge. Few teachers reported having received training on teaching in multicultural or multilingual settings.

More than 90% of students attended schools where principals reported positive multicultural beliefs among their teachers. Yet students who perceive discrimination by their teachers towards immigrants and people from other cultural backgrounds, for example, exhibited similar negative attitudes. This highlights the key role of teachers and school principals in countering or perpetuating discrimination by acting as role models.

The report found a strong link between students learning activities at school and having more positive intercultural attitudes. Also, speaking two or more languages was positively associated with awareness of global issues, interest in learning about other cultures, respect for people from other cultures and positive attitudes towards immigrants.

On average across OECD countries, 50% of students reported learning two or more languages at school, 38% reported learning one foreign language and only 12% reported not learning any foreign language at school. The largest share of students (more than 20%) who reported not learning any foreign language at school were observed in Australia, Brunei Darussalam, Malaysia, New Zealand, the Philippines, Saudi Arabia and Scotland. By contrast, in 42 countries, more than 90% of students reported that they learn at least one foreign language at school.

Source: Big gender gap in students attitudes and engagement in global and multicultural issues

OECD Report: All Hands In? Making Diversity Work for All

This report has some very useful comparative charts that I will draw from in the future. This takeaway is a useful reminder of the differences between and among groups:

Existing frameworks must better differentiate the needs of diverse groups

Despite the variety of instruments in place, whether diversity policies actually work in practice and why is still under-researched. This is partly due to few countries evaluating or monitoring the impact of existing policies. Yet, understanding “what works” for which groups and why is crucial. Evidence suggests that existing diversity measures often disregard the considerable heterogeneity both between and within groups and consequently have unequal effects on diverse populations. For example, evidence shows that affirmative action programmes in the United States have benefitted white women more than ethnic minorities. Quota regulations, which have proven effective in getting more women in corporate boards, can be counterproductive when applied to other groups, such as people with disabilities. Such findings demonstrate that there are group-specific barriers, which cannot be addressed through “one-size-fits-all” diversity policies.

Crucially, most existing diversity policies tend to neglect socio-economic disadvantage. Studies on access to higher education suggest that diversity policies primarily benefit the most privileged within an ethnic minority group, e.g. those from families with relatively high incomes or high levels of education. While the principle of equal opportunities should apply to people of any socio-economic background and status, policies fail to help the most disadvantaged within minority groups will not end injustice. Finally, policy makers have to face the danger that disadvantaged individuals who do not happen to fall into the category of any particular “diverse group” may feel left out and discriminated against. Diversity policies, therefore, can only be one part of a broader package of policies to promote equal opportunities among all members of society.

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Note: The chart compares differences in employment rates of men and women; native-born and foreign-born; and prime-age (25-54) and older workers (55-64). Disability status is defined as self-perceived, long-standing activity limitations. Employment gaps and perceived attitudes are shown as colour-coded percentiles. Evolution over 10 years (2008 and 2018 for attitudes; 2006/07 and 2016/17 for labour market gaps): “red”: more than a 2 percentage points change to the favour of diverse groups, “yellow” between a +2 percentage points change and a -2 percentage points change, “red“: more than a 2 percentage points change to the detriment of diverse groups (regardless of statistical significance). The evolution refers to differences vis-à-vis the respective comparison group and not absolute values. “Grey”: data are not available.

Source: OECD Gender Portal; OECD/EU Settling In: Indicators of Immigrant Integration 2018; OECD Employment Outlook 2018; OECD Connecting People with Jobs 2014; World Gallup Poll.

Source: https://read.oecd-ilibrary.org/social-issues-migration-health/all-hands-in-making-diversity-work-for-all_efb14583-en

Adams and Parkin: In Canada, education excellence is also about equity

More on education, equality and integration, and the overall strong Canadian reality:

Functional families celebrate their members’ achievements, be they graduations from school, promotions at work, or personal bests in weekend pursuits. The Canadian federal family is going through another dysfunctional phase, so it is no surprise that its achievements in education, documented last month by the OECD, went largely unnoticed. That’s too bad. We missed a chance not only to pat ourselves on the back, but to reflect on what it is that holds our family together.

Every three years, the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) publishes the results of the Programme for International Student Assessment (PISA) – a worldwide test of 15-year old students in reading, mathematics and science. This year, out of 36 OECD countries and 79 jurisdictions around the world, Canada finished third. Canadian students do a little better in science and reading than they do in math. But Canada was one of only five OECD countries that finished in the top five in two of the three subjects, and one of only four that finished in the top 10 in all three subjects. Only Estonia and Korea can boast that they did better.

Looking across all the jurisdictions that participated – including not only OECD countries but Asian megacities such as Singapore and Hong Kong – Canada stands out as the second-best Western country after Estonia, the top performing federation, and the top performing country where many students write the tests in their second (or third) language.

In a world where education underpins both individual and collective success, this strong showing is reassuring. But it should also serve as a reminder of some of the things that make this country tick.

One of these is how we share the country’s wealth. Three types of redistribution matter: between individuals, between neighbourhoods, and between provinces. Canada’s system of progressive taxation, and income supports like the Canada Child Benefit, mean that more children go to school ready to learn. Our strong provincial governments have the ability to move funding to where it is needed most, so that it matters less which side of the tracks your local school is located on. And equalization means that there is an evenness to the quality of public education provided across the country.

The net result of this redistribution is that Canada’s education systems are among the most equitable in the world. Countries like Germany and the United States are world leaders when it comes to their most affluent students but trail when it comes to their most disadvantaged. Canada, by contrast, performs well across the board.

Countries like Germany and the United States are world leaders when it comes to their most affluent students but trail when it comes to their most disadvantaged. Canada, by contrast, performs well across the board.

Canada’s other forté is its ability to bring significant numbers of students with immigrant backgrounds into its schools and ensure they succeed. More than one-third of Canada’s 15-year-old students are first- or second-generation immigrants. But while some countries struggle to ensure their immigrant students can keep up, Canada’s immigrant students propel us forward. In fact, in no other OECD country do second generation immigrant students score as high in reading as they do in Canada. No other OECD country does as good a job as Canada does at combining a high proportion of immigrant students with high achievement for those students.

Certainly, there is still room for improvement. Canada’s PISA scores have edged downward over time – a trend that needs to be addressed and reversed. While PISA does not report on the situation of Indigenous students, we know that this remains one area where our education systems are letting children down. Schools in Canada, as elsewhere, face the challenge of balancing the learning opportunities afforded by new communications technologies with the risks that they bring to students’ focus, civility and safety.

But overall, if PISA is a mirror held up to the societies that participate, the reflection that Canadians should see is that of a country offering an almost unparalleled combination of excellence and equity. That we have achieved this in our unique Canadian way – by combining decentralized governance, support for redistribution, and openness to others from around the world – should only serve to liven up our celebration.

Source: Adams and Parkin: In Canada, education excellence is also about equity

OECD report says Canada does well recruiting immigrant workers, except in the trades

Useful review and suggested recommendations:

Canada should streamline its immigration system for skilled workers, let provinces create their own Temporary Foreign Worker programs and make it easier for people with international credentials to obtain Canadian equivalents, according to a new report from the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development.

Recruiting Immigrant Workers, the report published by the OECD Tuesday, gave Canada’s immigration system an overall positive review, praising its robust system for choosing which workers to admit, its prearrival supports and its ability to integrate and retain newcomers. It called Canada’s system a “benchmark” for other countries and noted Canada had the highest share of highly educated foreign-born people in the OECD.

Immigration Minister Ahmed Hussen told reporters in Toronto Tuesday he was “honoured” by the positive feedback, and that he’d study the recommendations for improvement.

The report suggested merging the immigration categories in Canada’s Express Entry system. Created in 2015 by Stephen Harper’s Conservative government, it was designed to better manage immigration applications from people with relevant job skills.

Candidates who meet the minimum criteria form a pool where they are assigned points in categories such as education, age and language proficiency. Every couple of weeks, the government invites the highest-scoring people to apply for permanent residency.

Express Entry immigrants can be in one of three streams: Federal Skilled Workers, Federal Skilled Trades or Canadian Experience Class (people who have already worked in Canada for at least one year). These classes were created before Express Entry was brought in.

The OECD recommended merging the Federal Skilled Workers class with the Canadian Experience Class, and differentiating candidates by awarding more points for Canadian work experience.

The agency also recommended abolishing the Federal Skilled Trades class because the program didn’t reach the “desired group” of potential immigrants. In 2018, fewer than 400 applicants were admitted under this class, and many of them were cooks – an occupation that’s not in high demand nationwide, the report noted.

Instead, it proposed creating a single set of criteria for entry into the pool and one consistent entry pathway.

But that idea worries Roxanne McInnis Jessome, an immigration consultant and founder of Vancouver-based Join Canada Immigration Specialists. She says the current points system already puts skilled tradespeople at a disadvantage, because expertise gained on the job isn’t given the same weight as a postsecondary credential.

The result is that even though there’s a shortage of skilled workers in construction in B.C., skilled tradespeople often don’t get invited to apply for permanent residency.

“Don’t abolish the trades [stream], manage it differently,” she said.

Getting rid of the trades stream would mean “a very deep policy revision on how the Express Entry would work,” added Dory Jade, chief executive officer of the Canadian Association of Professional Immigration Consultants.

Canada should also let provinces and territories create their own Temporary Foreign Worker programs to target specific regional shortages, the OECD recommended.

It also took aim at the cumbersome process for immigrants to get their foreign credentials recognized in Canada. That’s often a provincial issue, Mr. Jade said, because licensing bodies often differ regionally.

The report recommended following the German model to set up a specific short-term visa for people to get the ball rolling on getting Canadian equivalents for their qualifications, since right now it’s not possible to start licensing for many occupations from outside of Canada.

Canadian employers also have to complete a document called a Labour Market Impact Assessment (LMIA) sometimes to show there’s a need for a foreign worker to fill a job. The OECD recommended abolishing LMIAs for permanent migration in favour of integrity checks to verify the working conditions and wages.

Mr. Hussen said he recognized “that we have to do better there,” and is working to set up a trusted employer program, so that those looking to hire foreign workers don’t need to submit paperwork over and over again.

Source: Canada largely successful in managing economic immigration, OECD study finds

Tax evasion: blacklist of 21 countries with ‘golden passport’ schemes published

Will see if this leads to curbing this citizenship for sale practice:

A blacklist of 21 countries whose so-called “golden passport” schemes threaten international efforts to combat tax evasion has been published by the west’s leading economic thinktank.

Three European countries – Malta, Monaco and Cyprus – are among those nations flagged as operating high-risk schemes that sell either residency or citizenship in a report released on Tuesday by the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development.

The Paris-based body has raised the alarm about the fast-expanding $3bn (£2.3bn) citizenship by investment industry, which has turned nationality into a marketable commodity.

In exchange for donations to a sovereign trust fund, or investments in property or government bonds, foreign nationals can become citizens of countries in which they have never lived. Other schemes, such as that operated by the UK, offer residency in exchange for sizable investments.

The programme operated by Malta is particularly popular because as a European member state its nationals, including those who buy citizenship, can live and work anywhere in the EU. The country has, since 2014, sold citizenship to more than 700 people, most of them from Russia, the former Soviet bloc, China and the Middle East.

But concern is growing among political leaders, law enforcement and intelligence agencies that the schemes are open to abuse by criminals and sanctions-busting business people.

Transparency International and Global Witness, in a joint report published last week, described how the EU had gained nearly 100,000 new residents and 6,000 new citizens in the past decade through poorly managed arrangements that were “shrouded in secrecy”.

Also on the OECD blacklist are a handful of Caribbean nations that pioneered the modern-day methods for the marketing of citizenship. These include Antigua and Barbuda, the Bahamas, Dominica, Grenada, St Lucia, and St Kitts and Nevis, which has sold 16,000 passports since relaunching its programme in 2006.

After analysing residence and citizenship schemes operated by 100 countries, the OECD says it is naming those jurisdictions that attract investors by offering low personal tax rates on income from foreign financial assets, while also not requiring an individual to spend a significant amount of time in the country.

Second passports can be misused by those wishing to “hide assets held abroad”, according to the thinktank. Its flagship initiative is a framework for countries to cooperate in the fight against tax evasion by sharing information. Known as the Common Reporting Standard, the framework allows for details of bank accounts an individual might hold abroad to be sent to their home tax office.

The OECD believes the ease with which the wealthiest individuals can obtain another nationality is undermining information sharing. If a UK national declares themselves as Cypriot, for example, information about their offshore bank accounts could be shared with Cyprus instead of Britain’s HM Revenue and Customs.

“Schemes can potentially be abused to misrepresent an individual’s jurisdiction of tax residence,” the OECD warned.

The final names on the list are Bahrain, Colombia, Malaysia, Mauritius, Montserrat, Panama, Qatar, Seychelles, Turks and Caicos Islands, United Arab Emirates and Vanuatu.

Together with the results of the analysis, the OECD is also publishing practical guidance that will enable financial institutions to identify and prevent cases of avoidance through the use of such schemes, by making sure that foreign income is reported to the actual jurisdiction of residence.

Source: Tax evasion: blacklist of 21 countries with ‘golden passport’ schemes published

A separate article on Cyprus’s scheme: Cyprus Has Revised Its Citizenship Program: Is It Too Little, Too Late?

OECD warns citizenship by investment programs used to circumvent taxes | Cayman Compass

About time:

The Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development has issued a consultation document (Consultation document – Preventing abuse of residence schemes to circumvent the CRS – OECD.org)that warned of the potential abuse of “residence by investment” or “citizenship by investment” schemes. These schemes allow foreign individuals to obtain citizenship or temporary or permanent residence rights in exchange for local investments or against a flat fee.

While investors may be interested in these for legitimate reasons, including greater mobility because of visa-free travel, better education and job opportunities for children, or the right to live in a country with political stability, there is the potential for misuse, the Paris-based organization said.

An OECD disclosure facility that enables the public to share arrangements designed to avoid tax reporting under the common reporting standards produced information indicating that RBI and CBI schemes are used to circumvent CRS reporting.

The now-issued consultation document assesses how the schemes are used to avoid reporting. It identifies the types of schemes that present a high risk of abuse and it reminds stakeholders of correctly applying CRS due diligence procedures to prevent the abuse.

While the schemes generally do not offer a solution to escape the legal scope of CRS reporting, because they do not provide tax residence or affect tax residence in another country, they can potentially be exploited to undermine the CRS due diligence procedures, the document noted.

This scenario could arise, for example, if an individual does not live in the relevant jurisdictions but claims to be a resident there for tax purposes and supports the claim by providing his financial institution with documents such as a certificate of residence, passport or utility bills.

The schemes that are most susceptible, according to the paper, are those in low or no tax jurisdictions and those that do not impose or only have limited requirements to be physically present in the jurisdiction.

The OECD is seeking public input to obtain further evidence on the misuse of CBI/RBI schemes and on effective ways for preventing such abuse.

The consultation closes on March 19. The responses will be taken into account in determining the next steps that will be taken, the OECD said.

Countries with well-established citizenship-by-investment programs include Antigua and Barbuda, Dominica, St. Kitts and Nevis in the Caribbean, as well as Cyprus, Malta, the U.K., and the U.S. among others.

via OECD warns citizenship by investment programs used to circumvent taxes | Cayman Compass

Europe’s multicultural fears hide an integration success story: Doug Saunders

While I haven’t read the Bertelsmann report yet, I am familiar with the OECD integration report as it is the best source of international comparisons. The above chart highlights some of the more significant indicators, showing overall a less positive picture for European countries than portrayed by Saunders:

It has become commonplace, in some circles, to seal an argument with a reference to “what is happening in Europe.” Many things are happening in Europe, but you know it isn’t a reference to the Eurovision Song Contest or the Swedish gender-equality laws or full employment in Germany.

No, “what is happening in Europe” implies that whatever collection of bad-news headlines you’ve seen involving bombs and riots and crime gangs and far-out political parties shouting about the collapse of Western civilization, are caused by the presence of darker-skinned Europeans with minority religious beliefs.

That was the non-subtle suggestion when the U.S. President deployed the phrase in one of his tweets last year: “Our country needs strong borders and extreme vetting, NOW. Look what is happening all over Europe.” It’s the subject of popular books such as The Strange Death of Europe by the right-wing British author Douglas Murray, which uses random anecdotes and factoids to persuade the reader that everything was grand and harmonious in Europe – during some non-conflict-dominated era that is hard to find in history books – until those Muslims arrived, at which point “the culture” fell apart. Many of his arguments resemble German author Thilo Sarrazin’s Germany Abolishes Itself, which additionally used long-discredited racial-science concepts to claim that Turks had lowered his country’s IQ.

A version has seeped into more moderate conversations. Many people now believe what British author David Goodhart coined the “Progressive’s Dilemma” – the notion that growing ethnic diversity inevitably erodes civic trust and support for social programs, because we don’t want our tax money going to people not like us. Of course, you have to believe that darker-skinned Europeans are “not like us.”

This all ignores what is actually happening in Western Europe – which is one of the most successful and rapid stories of cultural and economic integration the world has seen.

There certainly are many white Europeans who think their brown-hued neighbours are poorly integrated aliens. The migrant influx of 2015 and 2016 didn’t help – those hundreds of thousands of lost souls stole attention from Europe’s tens of millions of immigrants and minorities, whose stories are entirely different.

We now have very comprehensive data showing just how well-integrated Europe’s minority groups are becoming. Most recent, published late last year, is a big study of Muslim populations by Germany-based Bertelsmann Foundation. It was preceded by an even larger-scale study of integration by the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development.

The German study found that “religious affiliation does not impede integration” in European countries. Not only that, but, as the OECD observed, “integration challenges do not increase with the share of immigrants in the population” – in fact, the countries with the largest immigrant populations tend to have the most total cultural and economic integration.

Immigrants and their offspring in Europe almost exclusively feel loyal to – and connected to – the country where they live; only 3 per cent of German and French Muslims and 8 per cent of British Muslims identify with their countries of ancestry (this is a lower rate than, say, European immigrants in Canada).

And they’re not forming “parallel societies”: Three-quarters of European Muslims spend their free time daily with European Christians, Jews and atheists – and that rate of contact increases with each generation.

Education is where Europe has often lagged: Its school systems often contain built-in incentives for minority children to fall behind or drop out. The Bertelsmann study found that the best educational integration is in France, where only 11 per cent of Muslims leave school before turning 18 (not much more than the ethnic-French population).

Germany and Switzerland, with their rigid and old-fashioned systems, have higher dropout rates – but they make up for this in employment, as immigrant-descended citizens in those booming economies have employment rates identical to the established population. Across Europe, the OECD says, immigrant employment is only three points lower than among the native-born.

Both studies found gaps and shortcomings in some places, especially educational success – but those are caused by European failures in policies and tolerance, not in lack of immigrant ambition.

Notably, both studies found populations who urgently want to be European, not “multicultural.” That’s a big difference: As historian Rita Chin observes in her book The Crisis of Multiculturalism in Europe, multiculturalism has largely been opposed by Europe’s minorities because of its “surprisingly undemocratic effects” – they’ve seen it as a barrier to integration; as a result, she writes, we now see “former colonials, guest workers, refugees and their descendants … woven into virtually every aspect of European public life.”

That – more than anything else – is what is happening in Europe.

via Europe’s multicultural fears hide an integration success story – The Globe and Mail

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Anxious about immigration? Here’s some food for thought – Geddes

Another good piece by John Geddes, with this excellent summary of the data and evidence from the latest OECD immigrant indicators report.

I am a great fan of these reports (used it for the above summary table in Multiculturalism in Canada: Evidence and Anecdote) and am using it to prepare for an upcoming seminar in Copenhagen.

I generally find these data based comparisons more informative than the policy comparison indexes like MIPEX or the Multiculturalism Policy Index although both, of course, are helpful to understanding and discussion.

As with previous and other studies, the sharp contrast between immigration-based countries, particularly Canada, Australia, New Zealand and to a lesser extent, the USA, is striking:

All those images of border-crossing migrants, and swaggering tough talk about what to do about them from some federal Conservative leadership aspirants, have prompted a lot of discussion about how Canada absorbs newcomers, and if we do it differently, maybe better, than other countries.

My colleague Scott Gilmore warned here that we should brace for anti-immigrant populism to rise in Canada, as it has in other countries after the immigrant portion of their populations reached a certain level. I reported here on research that suggests that where immigrants tend to live in Canada, and how they vote, makes the path to political power steeper for right-leaning populists in this country than in the U.S. and Europe.

No matter how you see the issue, understanding how immigrants fare in Canada suddenly seems essential—if the debate is going to be about more than hunches. If you’re really gripped by the subject, you might want to take a look at “Indicators of Immigrant Integration 2015: Settling In,” by the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development.” Here’s some of what jumped out at me from that study of the OECD’s 35 member countries [I have only listed the titles, the article has charts and narrative – well worth reviewing]:

  1. The Big Picture

  2. Recent Change and Stability

  3. Points of Origin Vary

  4. A Gender Gap

  5. Credentialed Newcomers

  6. Second-Generation Acceleration

  7. But Catching Up Isn’t Easy

  8. … And Some Will Stall

Source: Anxious about immigration? Here’s some food for thought – Macleans.ca

Where immigrants go to school is more important than where they came from | The Economist

More on the OECD PISA results focussing on immigrant children:

IF YOU think starting a new school is scary stuff—try doing it in a new country. Migrants can face a twin disadvantage. They are often concentrated in struggling schools. And, at least at first, they may suffer from having to toggle between languages at home and in class. Two-thirds of pupils born outside their host country use another tongue at home. Nearly one in two second-generation immigrants does so.

It is little wonder that many migrants struggle on the latest Programme for International Student Assessment (PISA) tests. The children of foreign-born parents are on average about a year behind their peers, even after accounting for parental income.

This finding hides a lot of variation (see chart). In Australia and Canada pupils whose parents were born abroad do better on science tests than similar teenagers with native-born parents.

Meanwhile immigrants in European countries are often far behind. In Germany first-generation and second-generation migrants are respectively about 2.5 and 1.5 years behind teenagers with German-born parents, even after accounting for their different economic backgrounds. There are similar results in Finland, a country often lauded for its record of equality in education.

For sure, migrants’ origins matter a lot. Second-generation East Asian pupils in Australia are roughly 2.5 years ahead of those with native-born parents. They do even better than pupils in Singapore, the highest-performing country in PISA, even as results in Australia as a whole have fallen.

Yet the country in which the immigrant attends school is more important than the one he comes from, says the OECD’s Andreas Schleicher. Turkish-born pupils in Germany are nearly two years behind in science tests compared with those in the Netherlands, after adjusting for different economic backgrounds.

Policy makes a difference. Attending nursery or extra language tuition helps migrants catch up. Limiting selection by academic ability gives them more time to make up ground. Not making them repeat a year has the same effect.

Admissions policies matter, too. Avoiding high concentrations of migrants in particular schools would help their academic achievement. It would probably also help poorer native children.

The task of educating migrants better is urgent, especially in Europe. The share of children of foreign-born parents in the OECD that took PISA increased from 9.4% in 2006 to 12.5% in 2015. It could rise further in light of the numbers of migrants settling in Europe in 2015 and 2016.

A survey last year by the OECD found that about 80% of second-generation immigrants feel at home at school. But outliers should cause concern. In France, for example, just 40% of second-generation immigrants say they feel as if they belong in school. That is a figure to make everyone in the country sit up straight.

Source: Where immigrants go to school is more important than where they came from | The Economist

Canadian students are excelling: Don’t get complacent (OECD PISA)

Good overall assessment of the latest OECD PISA results and Canadian students and schools by Bonnie Schmidt and Andrew Parkin:

Canadians can be proud of our showing in the 2015 Programme for International Student Assessment report, released Tuesday. We are one of only a handful of countries that places in the top tier in the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development in each of the three subjects tested: science, reading and math.

Canadian students not only exceeded the international average in science performance – they were among the best in the world in this subject. This is a positive result, given the diversity of our education systems and of our student population. Canada was also near the very top in reading, and remained in the top 10 in math. The OECD even singled Canada out for our ability to combine high achievement with a commitment to equity in education.

There is no gender gap in science performance in Canada, nor is there a gap between immigrant students and those born in Canada. Parents should welcome these findings.

Not only do Canadian students perform well in science, but they are also more likely than the OECD average to expect to have STEM careers (in science, technology, engineering and math) – 34 per cent of Canadian students have this expectation, compared with an international average of 25 per cent. This is good news for Canada and a testament to the many organizations across the country that help schools connect the dots between classroom science learning and the world of work.

But significant gender differences remain in terms of the specific types of STEM careers that boys and girls expect to have, with girls much more likely to expect careers in health sciences (29 per cent versus 10 per cent) and boys much more likely to expect careers in engineering (18 per cent versus 7 per cent) and information and communications technology (3.7 per cent in the ICT field versus 0.3 per cent).

While the PISA results do warrant celebration, we can’t become complacent. Challenges continue, not the least of which is figuring out how to continue evolving learning opportunities for Canadian youth so they can participate as citizens and in the labour market in a rapidly changing world.

And even though Canada stands out for its record in equity, some students still struggle to get the necessary attention. For example, PISA makes no reference to indigenous students. In addition, girls continue to significantly outperform boys in reading (though the gap narrows with digital reading) and, in some (but not all) provinces, boys outperform girls in math. Minority language classrooms (i.e. French learners outside Quebec and English learners in Quebec) also continue to lag behind.

Source: Canadian students are excelling: Don’t get complacent – The Globe and Mail