Hostname: page-component-7d684dbfc8-26pbs Total loading time: 0 Render date: 2023-09-23T10:12:26.969Z Has data issue: false Feature Flags: { "corePageComponentGetUserInfoFromSharedSession": true, "coreDisableEcommerce": false, "coreDisableSocialShare": false, "coreDisableEcommerceForArticlePurchase": false, "coreDisableEcommerceForBookPurchase": false, "coreDisableEcommerceForElementPurchase": false, "coreUseNewShare": true, "useRatesEcommerce": true } hasContentIssue false



Published online by Cambridge University Press:  26 January 2021

Nicole Marx*
Institute of German Language and Literature II, University of Cologne
Christian Gill
School of Languages, Literature, Cultures and Linguistics, Monash University Melbourne
Tim Brosowski
Institute of Psychology and Cognition Research, University of Bremen
*Correspondence concerning this article should be addressed to Nicole Marx, Philosophische Fakultät, Institut für Deutsche Sprache und Literatur II, Albertus-Magnus-Platz 1, 50923 Köln, Germany. E-mail:


Since 2015, increased numbers of newly immigrated schoolchildren in Europe have resulted in divergent, often ad hoc measures to provide for their education. Because the basis of classroom learning is information found in written texts, the development of grade-level reading skills is of central importance. However, little is known about immigrant students’ reading skills at and following transition, and no data is available for Germany, where the study was conducted. We report the results of a longitudinal study in which migrant students’ (N = 136) reading subskills after transition into mainstream were investigated at three points over the course of 2 years and compared to cohort performance (N = 517) in grades 7 through 9. Results showed that immigrant students performed significantly below mainstream students on all measures for all data points, with little evidence that they are beginning to close the gap even after several years in mainstream.

Research Article
© The Author(s), 2021. Published by Cambridge University Press

Access options

Get access to the full version of this content by using one of the access options below. (Log in options will check for institutional or personal access. Content may require purchase if you do not have access.)



Bäuerlein, K. (2014). Leseverständnisdiagnostik in der Sekundarstufe. Würzburg University Press.Google Scholar
Bäuerlein, K., Lenhard, W., & Schneider, W. (2012a). LESEN 6-7. Lesetestbatterie für die Klassenstufen 6-7. Verfahren zur Erfassung der basalen Lesekompetenz und des Textverständnisses. Hogrefe.Google Scholar
Bäuerlein, K., Lenhard, W., & Schneider, W. (2012b). LESEN 8-9. Lesetestbatterie für die Klassenstufen 6-7. Verfahren zur Erfassung der basalen Lesekompetenz und des Textverständnisses. Hogrefe.Google Scholar
Behörde für Schule und Berufsbildung Hamburg. (2016). Basisklassen und Internationale Vorbereitungsklassen an allgemeinbildenden Schulen im Schuljahr 2016/17 (ohne Sekundarstufe II, berufliche Bildungsgänge an Sonderschulen und Erwachsenenbildung). Scholar
Bialystok, E. (2007). Cognitive effects of bilingualism: How linguistic experience leads to cognitive change. International Journal of Bilingual Education and Bilingualism, 10, 210223.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Cameron, L. (2002). Measuring vocabulary size in English as an additional language. Language Teaching Research, 6, 145173. Scholar
Clahsen, H., Meisel, J., & Pienemann, M. (1983). Deutsch als Zweitsprache: Der Spracherwerb ausländischer Arbeiter. Narr.Google Scholar
Clark-Gareca, B., Short, D., Lukes, M., & Sharp-Ross, M. (2019). Long-term English learners: Current research, policy, and practice. TESOL Journal, 49, 115. Scholar
Collier, V., & Thomas, W. (2009). Educating English learners for a transformed world. Fuente Press.Google Scholar
Collier, V., & Thomas, W. (2017). Validating the power of bilingual schooling: Thirty-two years of large-scale, longitudinal research. Annual Review of Applied Linguistics (ARAL), 37, 203217.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Council of Europe. (2001). Common European framework of reference for languages: Learning, teaching, assessment. Cambridge University Press. Scholar
Cummins, J. (1979). Research findings from French immersion programs across Canada: A parent’s guide. Canadian Parents for French.Google Scholar
Cummins, J. (2000). Language, power and pedagogy. Bilingual children in the crossfire. Multilingual Matters.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Das Deutsche Sprachdiplom I (DSD-I). (n.d.). Standing Conference of the Ministers of Education and Cultural Affairs of the Länder in the Federal Republic of Germany. Scholar
Decker-Ernst, Y. (2017). Deutsch als Zweitsprache in Vorbereitungsklassen. Eine Bestandsaufnahme in Baden-Württemberg. Schneider Verlag Hohengehren.Google Scholar
Senatorin für Kinder, Die und Bildung, Bremen. (2019). Zahlen und Fakten. Scholar
Eurostat. (2019). Asylum and first time asylum applicants by citizenship, age and sex. Annual aggregated data (rounded), December 3. Scholar
Farnia, F., & Geva, E. (2013). Growth and predictors of change in English language learners’ reading comprehension. Journal of Research in Reading, 27, 389421. Scholar
Gamper, J., Röttger, E., Steinbock, D., & Falke, U. (2020). “Aber es ist insgesamt zu wenig und es fehlt ein klares Konzept”—Willkommensklassen in Berlin. Informationen Deutsch als Fremdsprache, 47, 410428. Scholar
Genesee, F. (1987). Learning through two languages: Studies of immersion and bilingual education. Heinle & Heinle.Google Scholar
Geva, E. (2006). Second-language oral proficiency and second-language literacy. In August, D. & Shanahan, L. (Eds.), Developing literacy in second-language learners: Report of the National Literacy Panel on Language Minority Children and Youth (pp. 123139). Erlbaum and the Center for Applied Linguistics.Google Scholar
Gill, C., Marx, N., Reichert, M.-C., & Rick, B. (2019). Der Unterricht von Deutsch als Sprache der Bildung in Vorbereitungsklassen. Ein curricularer Vorschlag für die Sekundarstufe I. Deutsch als Fremdsprache, 56, 152161.Google Scholar
González, L. A. (1986). The effects of first language education on the second language and academic achievement of Mexican immigrant elementary school children in the United States. University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign.Google Scholar
Grabe, W. (2009). Reading in a second language: Moving from theory to practice. Cambridge University Press.Google Scholar
Hakuta, K., Butler, Y. G., & Witt, D. (2000). How long does it take English learners to attain proficiency? The University of California Linguistic Minority Research Institute Policy Report 2000–1. Scholar
Hymes, D. (1972). On communicative competence. In Pride, J. B. & Holmes, J. (Eds.), Sociolinguistics: Selected readings (pp. 269293). Penguin.Google Scholar
Jeon, E. H., & Yamashita, J. (2014). L2 reading comprehension and its correlates. A meta-analysis. Language Learning, 64, 160212. Scholar
Knapp, W. (1999). Verdeckte Sprachschwierigkeiten. Die Grundschule, 5, 3033.Google Scholar
Lenhard, W. (2013). Leseverständnis und Lesekompetenz: Grundlagen—Diagnostik—Förderung. Psychologie 2014. W. Kohlhammer.Google Scholar
Levin, T., & Shohamy, E. (2008). Achievement of immigrant students in mathematics and academic Hebrew in Israeli school: A large-scale evaluation study. Studies in Educational Evaluation, 34, 114. Scholar
Liang, K.-Y., & Zeger, S. L. (1986). Longitudinal data analysis using generalized linear models. Biometrica, 73, 1322. Scholar
Malakoff, M., & Hakuta, K. (1991). Translation skills and metalinguistic awareness in bilinguals. In Bialystok, E. (Ed.), Language processing in bilingual children (pp. 141157). Cambridge University Press.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Marx, N. (2005). Hörverstehensleistungen im Deutschen als Tertiärsprache: Zum Nutzen eines Sensibilisierungsunterrichts in “DaFnE.”. Schneider Verlag Hohengehren.Google Scholar
Massumi, M., von Dewitz, N., Grießbach, J., & Terhart, H. (2015). Neu zugewanderte Kinder und Jugendliche im deutschen Schulsystem Bestandsaufnahme und Empfehlungen. Universität zu Köln.Google Scholar
Menken, K., & Kleyn, T. (2010). The long-term impact of subtractive schooling in the educational experiences of secondary English language learners. International Journal of Bilingual Education and Bilingualism, 13, 399417.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Nassaji, H. (2014). The role and importance of lower-level processes in second language reading. Language Teaching, 47, 137.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Paradis, J., & Jia, R. (2017). Bilingual children’s long-term outcomes in English as a second language: Language environment factors shape individual differences in catching up with monolinguals. Developmental Science, 20, 115. ScholarPubMed
Reich, H. (1980). Deutschlehrer für Gastarbeiterkinder. Eine Übersicht über Ausbildungsmöglichkeiten in der Bundesrepublik. In Deutscher Akademischer Austauschdienst. Arbeitskreis Deutsch als Fremdsprache (Ed.), Materialien Deutsch als Fremdsprache. Diskussion eines Rahmenplanes “Deutsch als Fremdsprache an den Hochschulen.” Vorträge und Materialien der Jahrestagung “Deutsch als Fremdsprache” an der Universität Regensburg vom 7–9 Juni 1979 (pp. 187213). AKDaF.Google Scholar
Reich, H. (2017). Geschichte der Beschulung von Seiteneinsteigern im deutschen Bildungssystem. In Becker-Mrotzek, M. & Roth, H.-J. (Eds.), Sprachliche Bildung: Band 1. Sprachliche Bildung—Grundlagen und Handlungsfelder (pp. 7794). Waxmann.Google Scholar
Reichert, M.-C., Rick, B., Marx, N., & Gill, C. (2020). Sprachliche Integration neu zugewanderter SchülerInnen in den Regelunterricht der Sekundarstufe I am Beispiel des Curriculumsentwurfs für die Bremer Vorkurse. Informationen Deutsch als Fremdsprache, 2020, 443458. Scholar
Reiss, K., Weis, M., Klieme, E., & Köller, O. (Eds.). (2019). PISA 2018: Grundbildung im internationalen Vergleich (1. Auflage). Waxmann.Google Scholar
Richter, T., & Christmann, U. (2009). Lesekompetenz: Prozessebenen und interindividuelle Unterschiede. In Groeben, N. & Hurrelmann, B. (Eds.), Lesesozialisation und Medien. Lesekompetenz: Bedingungen, Dimensionen, Funktionen (3rd ed., pp. 2558). Juventa Verlag.Google Scholar
Rick, B., & Gill, C. (2015). Seiteneinsteiger(innen) in Bremen. Einblicke in die Sprachförderpraxis. Die Grundschulzeitschrift, 30, 2123.Google Scholar
Saunders, B., & O’Brien, G. (2006). Oral language. In Genesee, F. (Ed.), Educating English language learners: A synthesis of research evidence (pp. 1463). Cambridge University Press. Scholar
Schepens, J., van Hout, R., & Jaeger, T. F. (2020). Big data suggest strong constraints of linguistic similarity on adult language learning. Cognition, 194, 104056. ScholarPubMed
Schneider, W. (2008). Entwicklung, Diagnose und Förderung der Lesekompetenz im Kindes- und Jugendalter. In Fischer, C., Mönks, F. J., & Westphal, U. (Eds.), Begabungsforschung: Vol. 6. Individuelle Förderung: Begabungen entfalten - Persönlichkeit entwickeln (pp. 131168). LIT-Verl.Google Scholar
Secretary-General of the OECD. (2019). PISA 2018 Results. Combined executive summaries. Volume I, II & III. Scholar
Soto-Corominas, A., Paradis, J., Rusk, B. V., Marinova-Todd, S., & Zhang, X. (2020). Oral language profiles of English second language learners in adolescence: Cognitive and input factors influence how they compare to their monolingual peers. Studies in Second Language Acquisition, 42, 697720. Scholar
Umansky, I., & Reardon, S. (2014). Reclassification patterns among Latino English learner students in bilingual, dual immersion, and English immersion classrooms. American Educational Research Journal, 51, 879912.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Van Dijk, T. A., & Kintsch, W. (1983). Strategies of discourse comprehension. Academic Press.Google Scholar
Wolff, D. (1987). Some assumptions about second language text comprehension. Studies in Second Language Acquisition (SSLA), 9, 307326. Scholar
Woods, A. (2009). Learning to be literate: Issues of pedagogy for recently arrived refugee youth in Australia. Critical Inquiry in Language Studies, 6, 81101. Scholar