Why do bilingual boys get better grades in English-only America? The impacts of gender, language and family interaction on academic achievement of Latino/a children of immigrants

Amy Lutz, Stephanie Crist

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

34 Scopus citations

Abstract

In the United States, children of immigrants face strong pressures to shift to English. We examine how the retention of Spanish-language skills affects the academic achievement of English-proficient Latino/a children of immigrants and how this varies by gender. Further, we examine the role that family interaction may play in mediating the impact of gender and language on achievement. We find that biliterate boys significantly outperform boys who have little Spanish proficiency. However, for girls there is no significant advantage or disadvantage to biliteracy in terms of GPA (grade point average). Our results suggest that, for Latino boys, the academic advantage of biliteracy is explained by strong family social cohesion. Our results also suggest that, while within-family social capital provides a scholastic benefit from family social cohesion in the case of biliterate boys, strong family ties can also have academic disadvantages.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)346-368
Number of pages23
JournalEthnic and Racial Studies
Volume32
Issue number2
DOIs
StatePublished - Jan 16 2009

Keywords

  • Achievement
  • Bilingualism
  • Family
  • Gender
  • Immigrants
  • Latinos

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Cultural Studies
  • Anthropology
  • Sociology and Political Science

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