Assessing the Value of Climate Assessments: Progress and Future Directions

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Abstract

The authors synthesize existing climate research and climate instruments, as well as introduce several frameworks to help educators understand how institutions and researchers have assessed diversity in the college environment. Over 90 instruments were reviewed and examined for their attention to multiple dimensions of the campus climate, diversity initiatives, and outcomes measures that capture students' values, skills, and knowledge for participation in a diverse society. Frameworks presented include a broad definition of the campus climate, a typology of campus initiatives based on an inventory of campus practice, and a typology of representative outcomes that capture cognitive, socio-cognitive, values/attitudes, and preparation for a multicultural society. Campuses that strive to become functional multicultural learning environments can now rely on a body of empirical information to guide practice and critical self-assessment to deepen their commitment to diversity. The authors recommend that campuses integrate their assessment of the climate with the evaluation of student outcomes and campus practice.

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