Immigrants and Norwegian-born to immigrant parents in lower secondary school
An analysis of data on marks and results from national tests in 2012
This report presents statistics and analyses of how immigrant pupils and pupils who are Norwegian-born to immigrant parents perform in primary and lower secondary schools compared to other pupils. These statistics and analyses are based on the national test statistics on 1st year pupils at lower secondary school (known as 8th grade in Norway) and the school points achieved at the end of their compulsory schooling in 2012. ‘Other pupils’ are those who do not belong to either of the said two groups, i.e. those who are neither immigrants nor Norwegian-born to immigrant parents.
Unambiguous results from national tests show that the share of pupils with the lowest levels of proficiency in English, reading and mathematics is higher for immigrant pupils than for pupils without an immigrant background. The test that has the highest share at the lowest level is reading. Almost a quarter of immigrants in 8th grade are at the lowest level in reading, and among pupils who complete their lower secondary education, the pupils without an immigrant background perform better than the immigrants. The average number of school points is more than five points lower for immigrants (35.1) than for pupils without an immigrant background (40.4). Pupils who are Norwegian-born to immigrant parents lie between the two groups, with 38.8 points on average.
The number of school points for final year pupils shows that the average number of points is highest for pupils whose parents have an extended higher education. Results from the national tests show that the higher the parents' education, the higher the share of children with a high level of proficiency. This applies to all subjects and all immigration categories. Pupils who are Norwegian-born to immigrant parents with an extended higher education have the highest scores in English. Sixty per cent of this group achieve proficiency level 4 or 5, while the corresponding figure for immigrants and other pupils is 41 and 50 per cent respectively. In all other respects, the largest share of other pupils is in the highest levels of proficiency. Immigrant pupils with the same social background have a lower level of proficiency. This means that when the parents have an extended higher education, 31 per cent of the immigrants achieve a proficiency level of 4 or 5 in reading, while 44 per cent of pupils who are Norwegian-born to immigrant parents and 57 per cent of the other pupils achieve this level. In the tests in mathematics, the corresponding shares are 42 per cent for immigrants, 51 per cent for Norwegian-born to immigrant parents and 58 per cent for the other pupils. The results are similar for the final year pupils; when the parents have an extended higher education, the average number of points is 43.0 for immigrants, 44.0 for Norwegian-born to immigrant parents and 45.8 for the other pupils.
Results from the national tests and the average number of school points show that whether the immigration occurs before or during the year a child starts school, or at age seven or older, has a clear impact on the child’s educational attainment. All of the groups scored higher when immigration occurred during the youngest phase.
In all the years from 2009 to 2012 inclusive, the immigrants' average number of points is highest in the least central municipalities. In 2012, the average was 35.6 points in the least central municipalities and 35.2 points in central municipalities. Immigrants in the least central municipalities also do best in the national tests. The share of the two highest proficiency levels is 22 per cent in the least central municipalities, and 17 per cent in central municipalities. The scenario is reversed for pupils without an immigrant background; in the central municipalities, 36 per cent have the two highest levels, while in the least central municipalities the corresponding figure is 29 per cent.
In the county breakdown, Oslo has the highest average number of points for pupils without an immigrant background, with 42.5. Immigrants in Oslo do not, however, have a particularly high average and are ranked eleventh in the county rankings of points for immigrants, with an average of 35.0 points.