Immigrant students in Denmark: why are they disadvantaged in civic learning?

Jinxin Zhu*, Ming Ming Chiu

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal articlepeer-review

4 Citations (Scopus)


Although native family students often learn more than immigrant family students in school (e.g. civics), scholars have not systematically demonstrated the mechanisms through which native family students outperform immigrant family students. The Opportunity-Propensity framework guides this study. We examine the link between students’ immigrant status and civic knowledge, with antecedent factors (socioeconomic status [SES] and language spoken at home), opportunity factors (civic learning at school, civic participation at school, and political discussion), and propensity factors (perceived open classroom climate and student-teacher relationship). Two-level path analysis of the responses to the International Civic and Citizenship Education Study (ICCS) 2016 by 6254 eighth graders in Denmark showed that the civic knowledge of native family students exceeded that of immigrant family students, mediated by their own and schoolmates’ higher family SES. Meanwhile, immigrant family students had more political discussions, which are linked to better civic knowledge.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)207-226
Number of pages20
JournalEducational Psychology
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 7 Feb 2020

Scopus Subject Areas

  • Experimental and Cognitive Psychology
  • Education
  • Developmental and Educational Psychology

User-Defined Keywords

  • Civic knowledge
  • civic learning
  • civic participation at school
  • immigrant family students


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