Leanna Stiefel, Amy Ellen Schwartz, and Dylan Conger

As immigrant students continue to enter U.S. schools in large numbers, policymakers, parents and school leaders have become intensely interested in their academic performance and educational attainment. While previous evidence has pointed to superior performance by foreign-born students in their elementary and middle school years, growing concern has centered around the education and life chance of immigrants who come to the United States in their high school years and pointed to a significant gap in the research literature. This paper takes a step toward filling the gap. We use data on a cohort of New York City public high school students to examine how the performance of immigrant students differs between students who enter in high school, middle school or elementary school, adjusting for the conventional student characteristics that may shape outcomes. We then compare these disparities to the disparities experienced by the native-born population in order to remove any differences in performance due merely to differences in mobility. Thus, we derive estimates of the "cost" in performance due to their entry in high school that has been purged of a range of possible confounding factors. Importantly, our difference-in-difference estimates suggests that, ceteris parabis, immigrant students do quite well and high school entrants even better than earlier entering immigrants.

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