Does Diversity at Undergraduate Institutions Influence Student Outcomes?

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Abstract

Using two separate samples, this study establishes and replicates a model of the influence of two types of educational diversity on student outcomes. Study 1, using survey data regarding undergraduate experiences from a volunteer sample of 1,963 incoming law students, confirms measurement models for diversity and outcome constructs and tests models predicting student outcomes from Classroom Diversity and Contact Diversity. Study 2 utilizes data from a nationally representative sample of 6,100 incoming law students to replicate results from Study 1. Both studies find a positive relationship between diversity and educational outcomes. Results suggest that institutions of higher education should support informal interactions between students of diverse backgrounds and should encourage students to enroll in courses dealing with diversity.

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