This paper re-examines the widely accepted proposition that students of non-English-speaking migrant background generally achieve well in Australian schools and are over-represented in higher education. It argues that the terms of this thesis exclude key factors influencing success and are insensitive to differences between and within migrant groups. Focusing on Turkish migration, I discuss the approaches and explanatory models developed since the presence of large numbers of post-war migrants in Australian schools was first recognised as an issue in the 1970s. Much of this research based its conclusions on the experiences of first waves of Italian and Greek migrants, neglecting groups such as the Turks. I argue that the ‘ethnic success’ explanation does not adequately account for the range and specificity of student experiences, and present some data suggesting that equity remains an issue into the second generation.