Does First-Language Training Matter for Immigrant Children’s School Achievements? Evidence from a Danish School Reform



This article explores municipal variation in the implementation of a Danish educational reform. The aim of the reform was to increase the assimilation of immigrants, and removing mother-tongue training for first- and second-generation immigrants was believed to increase their proficiency in Danish. This article uses a difference-in-differences method to explore the effect of this removal on children’s educational outcomes in terms of grades in standardised tests in class nine, assessing both grades in the majority language Danish and grades in mathematics. This study, furthermore, takes potential heterogeneities in terms of gender and immigrant generation into consideration. This study shows that the expected results of the reform were not obtained. Rather the opposite that the removal of mother-tongue training leads to lower grades in Danish for boys and in mathematics for both boys and girls.


Immigrant integrationSecond-language acquisitionSchool reformSchool achievements
  • Year: 2021
  • Volume: 11 Issue: 3
  • Page/Article: 316–340
  • DOI: 10.33134/njmr.418
  • Submitted on 11 Dec 2020
  • Accepted on 9 Apr 2021
  • Published on 3 Sep 2021
  • Peer Reviewed