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Goals and Gaps: Educational Careers of Immigrant Children
Last registered on April 12, 2017


Trial Information
General Information
Goals and Gaps: Educational Careers of Immigrant Children
Initial registration date
April 11, 2017
Last updated
April 12, 2017 2:27 PM EDT
Primary Investigator
Universita Bocconi
Other Primary Investigator(s)
PI Affiliation
Bocconi University and IIES Stockholm University
PI Affiliation
Bocconi University (Department of Public Analysis and Public Management)
Additional Trial Information
Start date
End date
Secondary IDs
Researchers study the educational choices of immigrant students in Italy. Given increased migrant flows, educational systems have witnessed increased pressure to provide the same level of cognitive training and support for diverse student populations. A literature review indicates that immigrants tend to choose vocational over technical or academic-oriented curricula relative to native students with similar ability. Researchers estimate the impact of a randomized program that provides both career counseling and tutoring as treatment. Ultimately, results indicate that the program successful mitigates educational segregation as male treated students have a lower probability of being retained and a higher likelihood of choosing a more rigorous high school. Although the results are not significant for girls, the overall result has positive spillovers of treated immigrant students.
External Link(s)
Registration Citation
Carlana, Michela, Eliana La Ferrara and Paolo Pinotti. 2017. "Goals and Gaps: Educational Careers of Immigrant Children." AEA RCT Registry. April 12. https://doi.org/10.1257/rct.2148-1.0.
Former Citation
Carlana, Michela et al. 2017. "Goals and Gaps: Educational Careers of Immigrant Children." AEA RCT Registry. April 12. http://www.socialscienceregistry.org/trials/2148/history/16425.
Experimental Details
As migrant flows have increased over the past few decades, it is becoming increasingly difficult for education systems to ensure the development of skills in a diverse student population and promote social cohesion. This paper studies the educational choices of children of immigrants in Italy. Immigrants tend to choose vocational over technical and academic-oriented curricula. Researchers then estimate the impact of a randomized program "Equality of Opportunity for immigrant students" (EOP) that provides tutoring and career counseling to a random sample of immigrant children who demonstrate high academic potential. Ultimately, the results indicate that the program successfully reduces segregation as male treated students have a lower probability to be retained and a higher probability of attending an academic or technical high-school. The results for girls are in the same direction but not significant. Results indicate improved cognitive and soft skills as well as positive spillovers.
Intervention Start Date
Intervention End Date
Primary Outcomes
Primary Outcomes (end points)
cognitive skills via math and grammar scores, soft skills, dropout rates, teacher recommendation, aspirations, career/school choice (attending a challenging high school), retention rate
Primary Outcomes (explanation)
Secondary Outcomes
Secondary Outcomes (end points)
Secondary Outcomes (explanation)
Experimental Design
Experimental Design
"Equality of OPportunity for immigrant students" (EOP) targeted immigrant children who displayed high academic potential as measured by sixth-grade standardized test scores. Researchers selected all schools in five cities in northern Italy. Among the 143 schools selected, they randomized 68 schools as treatment and 75 as the control group.

The treatment itself consisted of two main parts: 1) career choice consultancy and 2) tutoring on study method. The career choice consultancy offered 13 meetings with psychological support and information about the Italian schooling system; this consisted of 5 individual meetings between the student and career counselor, 5 group meetings with all treatment students of the same school; 2 meetings with parents and 1 meeting with teachers of treated student. The second part of the treatment was aimed at improving students' Cognitive Academic Language Proficiency (CALP) regarding topics such as Italian grammar, algebra, and geometry.

The datasets are from the Ministry of Education, University and Research (MIUR) and the National Institute for the Evaluation of the Italian Schooling System (INVALSI).

Additionally, researchers employ first exploratory factor analysis (EFA) and confirmatory factor analysis to identify soft skills measures.

Regarding the results, immigrant students in treatment groups are 5.1 percentage points more likely to attending a more rigorous high school compared to immigrant students in the control with most of the significance driven by males students. Furthermore, male treated students are 3.7 percentage points less likely to be retained in grade 7 or 8. Male treated students scored 0.188 standard deviations higher in math and 0.139 standard deviations higher in reading than students in the control group. Male students have 0.291 standard deviations higher aspirations and perceive 0.389 standard deviations lower socioeconomic barriers than control students. The impact on both cognitive and soft skills was internalized by teachers who recommended treated students for a more demanding high school. Regarding the impact of tutoring, the results suggest that the 12 additional tutoring sessions improved neither educational career nor cognitive skills of immigrant children. Male treated students have a lower probability of failing a school year. Lastly, the intervention had some positive spillovers, reducing the retention rate for males and raising the enrollment to more demanding track for females.
Experimental Design Details
Randomization Method
Randomized at the school level. Selection of students within school was based on objective criteria. Each school had 10 selected students eligible for the intervention.
Randomization Unit
Was the treatment clustered?
Experiment Characteristics
Sample size: planned number of clusters
143 middle schools
Sample size: planned number of observations
1217 students total (601 male and 616 female)
Sample size (or number of clusters) by treatment arms
68 schools treatment group; 75 schools control group
597 students treatment group; 620 students control group
Minimum detectable effect size for main outcomes (accounting for sample design and clustering)
Supporting Documents and Materials

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Request Information
IRB Name
Study has received IRB approval. Details not available.
IRB Approval Date
Details not available
IRB Approval Number
Details not available
Post Trial Information
Study Withdrawal
Is the intervention completed?
Intervention Completion Date
July 30, 2014, 12:00 AM +00:00
Is data collection complete?
Data Collection Completion Date
July 30, 2014, 12:00 AM +00:00
Final Sample Size: Number of Clusters (Unit of Randomization)
143 middle schools
Was attrition correlated with treatment status?
Final Sample Size: Total Number of Observations
1217 students total (601 male and 616 female)
Final Sample Size (or Number of Clusters) by Treatment Arms
68 schools treatment group; 75 schools control group Not specified on individual level
Data Publication
Data Publication
Is public data available?
Program Files
Program Files
Reports, Papers & Other Materials
Relevant Paper(s)