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

JinXin ZHU, Ming Ming CHIU

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1 Citation (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. Copyright © 2019 Informa UK Limited, trading as Taylor & Francis Group.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)207-226
JournalEducational Psychology
Issue number2
Early online dateNov 2019
Publication statusPublished - 2020



Zhu, J., & Chiu, M. M. (2020). Immigrant students in Denmark: Why are they disadvantaged in civic learning? Educational Psychology, 40(2), 207-226. doi: 10.1080/01443410.2019.1657560


  • Civic knowledge
  • Civic learning
  • Civic participation at school
  • Immigrant family students