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Immigrant students’ educational expectations: the role of religious affiliation and practice

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A body of scholarly work has emerged on educational expectations. More recently, the relationship between educational expectations and immigrant background in Western Europe has been investigated. Although the results of this type of inquiry show that students with an immigrant background tend to have higher educational expectations, potential explanations of this relationship remain unarticulated. In this article, we investigate whether religious affiliation and practice help explain the relationship between immigrant background and educational expectations. We use the Flemish survey data from the 2009 wave of the International Civic and Citizenship Education Study (ICCS). In comparison with students who claimed to have no religious affiliation, students with a Muslim and other religious affiliation were more likely to have these expectations. This relation does not hold for the students with a Christian religious affiliation. However, the effect of religious affiliation disappears when the effects of religious participation were included. We also found that the more religiously active, the higher the educational expectations are for the students. This effect diminished when we controlled for talking with parents about political or social issues. The relationship between immigrant background and educational expectations is partially explained by the level of religious practice and religious affiliation of students.
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Keywords: Religious affiliation; educational expectations; religious practice

Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: 1: Political Science, Free University of Brussels, Brussels, Belgium 2: Laboratory for Education and Society, KU Leuven, Leuven, Belgium

Publication date: January 2, 2018

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