Generational patterns in Mexican Americans' academic performance in an unwelcoming political context

Danyel A V Moosmann, Mark W. Roosa, George P. Knight

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

3 Scopus citations


Research has shown that immigrant students often do better academically than their U.S.-born peers from the same ethnic group, but it is unclear whether this pattern holds for Mexican Americans. We examined the academic performance of four generations of Mexican American students from 5th to 10th grade looking for generation differences and explanations for them. Using data from 749 families, we tested a model with 5th-grade variables that differed by generation as potential mediators linking student generation to 10th-grade academic performance. Results showed that immigrants were academically behind at 5th grade but caught up by 7th. Only economic hardship mediated the long term relation between student generation and 10th-grade academic performance; maternal educational expectations and child language hassles, English usage, discrimination, and mainstream values helped explained the early academic deficit of immigrant children. The results identified potential targets for interventions to improve Mexican American students' academic performance.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)102-110
Number of pages9
JournalJournal of Applied Developmental Psychology
Issue number2
StatePublished - Mar 2014


  • Academic performance
  • Discrimination
  • Economic hardship
  • English usage
  • Mexican Americans
  • Values

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Developmental and Educational Psychology


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