Cognitive achievement of children of immigrants: Evidence from the Millennium Cohort Study and the 1970 British Cohort Study


23 November 2018

Although numerous studies have described the educational attainment of ethnic minorities in the UK, few have focused specifically on children born in the UK to two immigrant parents. First, using ordinary least squares (OLS) estimation, this article examines the cognitive assessment scores of children of immigrants in the 1970 British Cohort Study (BCS70) and the Millennium Cohort Study (MCS). It then exploits the richer data of the MCS to construct multilevel models for children of immigrants in this more recent cohort. In the BCS70, children of immigrants show significant gaps at ages 5 and 10 in both reading and maths scores. Even when controls are included in the OLS model for the BCS70, children of Caribbean immigrants are expected to perform worse in both assessments. In the raw MCS data, on the other hand, nearly no gap remains in age‐11 and ‐14 assessments. Although Bangladeshi children of immigrants in the MCS have negative coefficients in the OLS analysis, in the final multilevel model for the MCS, all children of immigrants follow positive trajectories wherein no group attains distinguishably lower scores than their peers in later assessments, and Indian children of immigrants even outperform their peers in the MCS model’s predictions.


Nathan I. Hoffmann


British Educational Research Journal