Nav: Home

Policies valuing cultural diversity improve minority students' sense of belonging

April 24, 2019

Leuven, Belgium - Societies and schools are facing new, culturally diverse populations and how they respond to these changes can have lasting impacts for everyone involved. Examining middle school diversity policies, a team of researchers from the University of Leuven, Belgium and the Queen's University Belfast, UK, found that in schools with multicultural-based policies, ethnic minority students achieved just as well and felt that they belonged just as much as their majority peers. They also found that in schools that ignore or reject diversity, ethnic minority students had worse grades and felt that they belonged less in the school than their majority peers.

"Approaches that ignore diversity, with rhetoric like 'I don't see color', or those that reject diversity, such as banning headscarves, may intend to minimize discrimination, but in reality these approaches can be harmful for marginalized groups," says Dr. Laura Celeste a social and cultural psychology researcher and lead author of the study.

The research appears in the journal Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin, a publication of the Society for Personality and Social Psychology.

Much of the prior work on assimilation, diversity, and immigration, comes from a North American perspective, according to Celeste and colleagues. They wanted to understand the European experience, which has its own cultural identities, histories, and experiences.

The psychologists assessed policies at over 60 Belgian middle schools, as well as a total of 1,747 minority and 1,384 majority students' school belonging and achievement (self-reported grades) 1 year later.

They found in their initial assessments that minority students reported significantly less belonging (M = 3.52) and lower grades (M = 59.28) than majority peers (M = 3.70 and M = 63.14), respectively. In schools with "multiculturalism" polices, minority students reported higher class grades by the end of the year and those with "colorblindness" polices actually saw grades go down among minority students.

Celeste and colleagues note that other research tracking middle through high school students shows that those who feel less belonging in school are "at risk of disengagement, underachievement, and early school leaving, with lasting consequences for their future life chances in our post-industrial economies."

"These results are also in line with previous research that shows, for instance, how workplace diversity policies can affect relational and performance-related outcomes in organizations," says Celeste.

Society for Personality and Social Psychology

Related Diversity Articles:

Underestimated chemical diversity
An international team of researchers has conducted a global review of all registered industrial chemicals: some 350,000 different substances are produced and traded around the world -- well in excess of the 100,000 reached in previous estimates.
New world map of fish genetic diversity
An international research team from ETH Zurich and French universities has studied genetic diversity among fish around the world for the first time.
Biological diversity as a factor of production
Can the biodiversity of ecosystems be considered a factor of production?
Fungal diversity and its relationship to the future of forests
Stanford researchers predict that climate change will reduce the diversity of symbiotic fungi that help trees grow.
Brain diseases with molecular diversity
Parkinson's and multisystem atrophy (MSA) - both of them neurodegenerative diseases - are associated with the accumulation of alpha-synuclein proteins in the brain.
United in musical diversity
Is music really a 'universal language'? Two articles in the most recent issue of Science support the idea that music all around the globe shares important commonalities, despite many differences.
Genetic diversity facilitates cancer therapy
Cancer patients with more different HLA genes respond better to treatment.
A new ranavirus threatens US amphibian diversity
In a study published in the Oct. 15 issue of Ecological Modelling, a team of University of Tennessee researchers along with a colleague from the University of Florida model how a chimeric Frog virus 3 (FV3)-like ranavirus, also known as RCV-Z2, can spread rapidly throughout a population of North American wood frog (Lithobates sylvaticus) tadpoles.
New way to target cancer's diversity and evolution
Scientists have revealed close-up details of a vital molecule involved in the mix and match of genetic information within cells -- opening up the potential to target proteins of this family to combat cancer's diversity and evolution.
Heterogeneity in the workplace: 'Diversity is very important to us -- but not in my team'
Diversity in the workplace is highly sought in theory, but often still lacking in practice.
More Diversity News and Diversity Current Events

Trending Science News

Current Coronavirus (COVID-19) News

Top Science Podcasts

We have hand picked the top science podcasts of 2020.
Now Playing: TED Radio Hour

There's so much we've yet to explore–from outer space to the deep ocean to our own brains. This hour, Manoush goes on a journey through those uncharted places, led by TED Science Curator David Biello.
Now Playing: Science for the People

#555 Coronavirus
It's everywhere, and it felt disingenuous for us here at Science for the People to avoid it, so here is our episode on Coronavirus. It's ok to give this one a skip if this isn't what you want to listen to right now. Check out the links below for other great podcasts mentioned in the intro. Host Rachelle Saunders gets us up to date on what the Coronavirus is, how it spreads, and what we know and don't know with Dr Jason Kindrachuk, Assistant Professor in the Department of Medical Microbiology and infectious diseases at the University of Manitoba. And...
Now Playing: Radiolab

Dispatch 1: Numbers
In a recent Radiolab group huddle, with coronavirus unraveling around us, the team found themselves grappling with all the numbers connected to COVID-19. Our new found 6 foot bubbles of personal space. Three percent mortality rate (or 1, or 2, or 4). 7,000 cases (now, much much more). So in the wake of that meeting, we reflect on the onslaught of numbers - what they reveal, and what they hide.  Support Radiolab today at