Department or Program



This thesis investigates the performance of black immigrant students compared to that of their black nonimmigrant classmates on tests in reading, math, and general knowledge/science in kindergarten, third, fifth, and eighth grade. I utilized data from the Early Childhood Longitudinal Study- Kindergarten Cohort to analyze differences in mean test scores, independent samples t-tests, and regression models. Black nonimmigrant students are suffering from a consistent, statistically significant performance disadvantage relative to white nonimmigrant students. However, their black immigrant peers are not suffering from the same disadvantage that befalls black nonimmigrant classmates. Instead, their disadvantage is much less consistent across tests and grade levels, and sometimes fully mitigated by controls. I argue that a potential black immigrant advantage (or black immigrant paradox) and a potential black nonimmigrant disadvantage (a loose derivative of oppositional identity) are closely linked theoretical inverses of one another within the marginalized space of blackness in the U.S. school context. The two may interact with other factors at the child, home, school, and neighborhood/ community levels to contribute to the observed divergence in black student school performance. I advocate for a sociohistorical understanding of both potential orientations toward schooling and school performance that neither praises black immigrants nor blames black nonimmigrants based on under-informed conceptions of 1) their orientations toward schooling, and 2) the ways in which such orientations may interact with structural factors to impact black students’ school experiences and outcomes.

Level of Access

Restricted: Campus/Bates Community Only Access

Date of Graduation

Spring 5-2012

Degree Name

Bachelor of Arts

Number of Pages


Components of Thesis

One .pdf file


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