Online Digital Database – Resource2022-04-07T11:55:57+02:00
Progetto Su.Per. SUccesso nei PERcorsi formativi degi studenti di origine immigrata


The project concerned the paths of students with excellent school records despite disadvantages resulting from the difficulties of the migration experience and low socio-economic status. The project dealt with ethnic inequalities in education, seeking to go beyond a mere critical explanation of the persistence of educational disadvantage among foreign students. It consisted in a sociological study from the perspective of disadvantaged students, focusing on the ways and strategies through which they have succeeded at school. The study involved 11 higher education institutions and professional training centers in Brescia. The project was based on the collection of school autobiographies of 65 successful female and male students of immigrant origin of first and second generation, based on an extensive self-interview outline, reconstructing the past, present and future of their own and their family's school and migration experience, as well as reflecting critically on their own "school success". The project lasted from 2017 to 2019 and was promoted by Cirmib (Center for Initiatives and Research on Migration) of the Catholic University of the Sacred Heart of the Brescia office, in collaboration with the Territorial School Office of Brescia, with the financial support of the Eulo Foundation, the Catholic University and the School Office.

  • Good Practices
  • Country of origin / implementation:
  • Italy
  • Language:
  • Italian
  • Compliance with the Dashboard Outcomes:
    • Children maintain their cultural identity while adopting new cultural values and intercultural competences
    • Children's academic skills
    • Children's competence in host language
    • Children's life satisfaction / happiness
    • Children's sense of belonging
    • Institutions
    • Teachers

    Evaluation ex post
    The research project achieved its objectives (documented in detail in the volume published in 2019). The success strategies of young people of immigrant origin were reconstructed through their school autobiographies. In addition to this, the careful analysis of the empirical documentation and the discussion with the teachers and authors of the autobiographies revealed an unexpected result of the research: the majority of the students reported in the texts of their experience of the project and reflected on it. By describing their participation in Su.Per., the students reported emotional reactions, positive effects on their school orientations and a new sense of their past and present experience. Being 'defined' as an excellent student and belonging to the group of the best in the class or school had the effect of making this biographical perspective of success possible and socially acceptable, especially for the most disadvantaged.

    Projects’ deliverables
    BOOK (see link below) - Santagati M. (2019), Autobiografie di una generazione Su.Per. Il successo degli studenti di origine immigrata, Milano, Vita e Pensiero, Collana INSIDE Migration. ARTICLES - Santagati M. (2020). Family Migration and Educational Mobility. Pathways to Success in the Autobiographies of Girls of Moroccan Origin. Journal of Mediterranean Knowledge-JMK, 5(2), 193-217. - Santagati M. (2020). Inspired by “The Polish Peasant”. Autobiographies of Successful Students with an Immigrant Background, Italian Sociological Review, 10(2) (open access). - Santagati M. (2019), The (im)possible success of disadvantaged students. Reflections on education, migration and social change, Arxius de Ciències Socials (Universidad de Valencia), n. 40, pp. 51-58. - Santagati M. (2018), Turning Migration Disadvantage into Educational Advantage. Autobiographies of Successful Students with an Immigrant Background. Revista de Sociología de la Educación (RASE, Universidad de Valencia), vol. 11, n. 2, pp. 315-334. - Barabanti P., Santagati M. (2020), Studenti eccellenti con background migratorio: il contesto scolastico come fattore di successo. Autonomie Locali e Servizi Sociali, n. 2, pp. 441-458. - Bertozzi R., Santagati M., Saruis T. (2020), I dilemmi degli insegnanti nella scuola multiculturale. Un approfondimento teorico ed empirico in prospettiva street-level, “Professionalità Studi”. CHAPTERS - Santagati M. (2019), Resilient students with an immigrant background. A sociological challenge, in Daher L., Gamuzza G., Leonora A.M., Gogacz A.M. (eds.), The Multi(inter)cultural School in Inclusive Societies. A Composite Overview of European Countries, Newcastle upon Tyne, Cambridge Scholars publishing, pp. 121-147. - Santagati M. (2018), Studenti Su.Per. Un progetto di ricerca sul successo dei giovani con background immigrato, in Guazzini F., Scaglione S., Tusini S., Vetrugno R. (a cura di), Il mio futuro parla italiano. Migrazione e percorsi di integrazione sociale e linguistica, Pavia, Edizioni Altravista, pp. 51-65.

    In the 2019 volume, Autobiographies of a Generation “Su.Per.The success of students of immigrant origin”, the methodology of the research project is described in detail, the outline of the school autobiography is reported (p. 68-70), and the 65 autobiographies are published in full, making this research idea highly reproducible, in other contexts and with other groups. The research lends itself to being replicated with cognitive and practical purposes, of "biographical" evaluation of integration policies from the point of view of the protagonists. It can also be used in didactic work based on direct life testimonies, writing samples and narrative creativity. The nucleus of 65 autobiographies could represent a basis for structuring online archives of "unexpected stories" of improvement that give voice to disadvantaged groups of various kinds, a "database of texts" that can be implemented over time, extended to other territories at national level and beyond the Italian borders, following the model of other experiences and already widely used in sociological studies, which could open up new avenues for the analysis of big data, also on the qualitative front, for the collective study of emerging forms of "biographisation" of the social, educational and political, for the reworking of shared meanings of merit and success, to suggest new intervention practices.

    Motivation for the submission
    The project was selected as it is a sociological study focused on the successful achievement of migrant children. It proposes a different perspective on the path of inclusion.

  • Foundations
  • Universities
  • Type of action:
  • Extra-curricular activity
  • Target:
  • Migrant children (first and/or second generation)
  • Migrant families, parents
  • Policy makers, educational authorities
  • Principals, teachers
  • Professionals involved:
  • Academics, researchers
  • Teachers
  • Networking - Actors and institutions mobilized by the project:
  • Local authorities
  • Schools
  • Students / parents associations
  • Universities, research centres
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