Wood, Thomas, & Sherman, Malcolm
Is Campus Racial Diversity Correlated with Educational Benefits?
Refute the contrary claim that racial diversity confers educational benefits for all admitted students.
Journal Name or Institutional Affiliation:
Summer 2001, pp. 72-88
- Astin's regression finds that outcomes are generally not affected by African American, Asian-American, and Latinos peer measures, and in all but one case the effects are very weak and indirect.
- Concludes that Chang's conclusions are variously irrelevant, erroneous, consistent with the National Association of Scholar's (NAS) own position. The impression that Chang tries to give, that variation in diversity is too small to detect meaningful effects, is quite false - especially given the huge sample size he is using and the ability it confers to detect even very small differences.
- Chang's dissertation does elaborate three different measures of campus diversity, but the measures do not appear to have led to new or more precise findings about the impact of campus racial diversity.
- The central problem that Gurin faced in producing her expert report is that the national database on which she had to rely disconfirms the claim that she was asked by the university to defend.
- For the vast majority of student outcome measures, Gurin found no statistically significant relationship between structural diversity and campus experience variables, on the one hand, and final outcome measures on the other.
- Gurin's own analysis shows: (1) few instances of positive effects of structural diversity on either learning or democracy outcomes; (2) very small (and educationally insignificant) effects where the correlations are positive and statistically significant; and (3) no connection between structural diversity and such "campus experience" variables as ethnic studies courses or workshops.
- The main problem with Gurin's study is that the relationships Gurin chose to study are what she calls "diversity experience variables" rather than campus racial diversity itself (that was what the real reason why the University of Michigan was sued).
- It is inexplicable and indeed rather astonishing that Gurin should ask us to eyeball a pattern of "consistent findings" about irrelevant variables in order somehow to persuade ourselves that racial diversity is correlated with beneficial educational outcomes.
Journal Article Review of Literature
Method of Analysis:
Unit of Analysis:
- Findings from Alexander W. Astin report from the ACE-DERI-CIRP database which includes longitudinal undergraduate data from 209 four-year institutions and 24,837 students.
- Mitchell J. Chang's 1996 Doctoral Dissertation titled What Matters in college?
- Patricia Gurin's Expert Witness Report and Supplemental Expert Report