Factors affecting academic achievement as perceived by secondary school students with Iranian background in Canada
Despite continuing interest in academic achievement theory and approaches on culturally diverse students, explanations remain inadequate and incomplete. In Canada much of the focus has been on particular groups, particularly those of First Nations ancestry. Much of the research and theory also fails to address successful students and students other than those from a low socioeconomic status. In addition it lacks the perceptions and interpretations of those who may have the most valuable contributions to make---those being the students themselves.;This study combines elements of both micro- and macro-ethnography, as well as other types of qualitative research, in the examination of the perceptions of students with Iranian backgrounds attending a secondary school in one of the wealthiest areas in Canada. The student participants identified five primary factors as most important to their academic successes and difficulties: (1) language, (2) family, (3) peers, (4) school, and (5) racism. Findings are presented primarily in the words of the students. They are analyzed contextually and in conjunction with data gathered from the students' parents and educators at their school. Findings confirm the incompleteness and inadequacies of theories on and/or approaches to the academic achievement of culturally diverse students when applied to Canadian students with Iranian background and suggest directions for further attention. Results may be useful in the fight against stereotypical thinking and racism. They may also aid in a better understanding of the complex connection between ethnicity and school achievement. This understanding is necessary for educators to be able to help guide their culturally diverse students to academic success. Recommendations for doing so are included in the last chapter.