The impact of groupings in school. Spaces of learning and sociability for Moroccan youth in Barcelona

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© 2013 Ministry Education and Science. All rights reserved. Research shows that a significantly high proportion of immigrant and minority youth in disadvantaged socioeconomic conditions is enrolled in low-prestige schools where motivation for academic success is poor, in neighbourhoods where social cohesion is not fostered. These are not the schools selected by the middle and high-class mainstream. Segregation between schools is a popular research topic, but few studies have tackled the internal segregation that can occur within a school, which may mean limited access to experience, expectation and relationships for some student groups. This article examines the impact of school structure and culture on the experience of young students of immigrant families. The focus is on boys and girls from Moroccan families and their possibilities of building conventional or successful high-school careers in Catalonia. The results are drawn from an ethnic school and community group of 31 boys and 18 girls age 12 to 16 who attend high school and their families, in a working-class metropolitan area of Barcelona. The study was part of a larger research project on immigrant families and their children’s integration into school and society. This article follows in the footsteps of Stanton Salazar (2004) and Carter (2005), examining the existence of differentiated learning and socialisation spaces within the school and the distribution of social capital. It also furnishes empirical data on the importance of internal school stratification for youth of Moroccan origin, in their school experience, their academic performance, their sociability and their identities.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)133-158
JournalRevista de Educacion
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jan 2013


  • Academic performance
  • Grouping
  • Identities
  • Immigrant education
  • Moroccan youth
  • Secondary education
  • Sociability


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