Author

Nour Fakhoury

Date Approved

11-12-2012

Date Posted

5-9-2013

Degree Type

Open Access Thesis

Degree Name

Master of Arts (MA)

Department

Sociology, Anthropology, and Criminology

Committee Member

Kristine J. Arjouch, Ph.D, Chair

Committee Member

Solange Simoes, Ph.D

Abstract

There is no single predictor of economic success in modern America more than one’s education level. There has been much empirical research examining immigrant students and academic achievement, in order to provide the necessary support to increase the likelihood of academic success. However, there has been little research to investigate the case of Arab-American immigrants. The influx of immigrants from Arab countries that have recently experienced much instability due to war and conflict, and the increased negative visibility of Arabs post-September 11, make it vital to examine the experiences of Arab immigrant students and how their experiences affect their academic achievement.

This qualitative study consisted of 17 participants, ages 17-28, from the Detroit and Chicago metropolitan areas. One-on-one, face-to-face interviews lasting 20-45 minutes were conducted. Interviews were audio recorded, transcribed, and analyzed in order to find recurring themes.

Experiences with respect to discrimination and marginalization, parental involvement, and experiences in country of origin and their effects on academic achievement were examined. Results suggest that although discrimination and marginalization were often experienced, these did not affect students’ academic achievement. In fact, the findings suggest that it may have pushed the students to work harder at learning the language to ensure faster integration into mainstream culture. In addition, the challenges that parents may face vis-à-vis parental involvement, in particular, the financial struggles, may affect the students’ academic achievement. Finally, advanced math and science curriculum that the immigrant students had been v exposed to in their countries of origin may indeed play a major role in boosting the student’s academic confidence and academic achievement in the U.S.

Included in

Sociology Commons

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