Capturing a nuanced picture of classroom cultural diversity climate: Multigroup and multilevel analyses among secondary school students in Germany

Maja Schachner, Miriam Schwarzenthal, Ursula Moffitt, Sauro Civitillo, Linda Juang

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

Abstract

As cultural diversity is increasing around the globe, a more nuanced understanding of the cultural diversity climate in classroom settings is needed, including how its different aspects relate to student outcomes. We developed the Classroom Cultural Diversity Climate Scale (CCDCS), integrating theory and research from social psychology and multicultural education and including novel facets like polyculturalism, which has not been studied in the school context before. We then studied associations with intergroup relations, socio-emotional adjustment, and school achievement among students of immigrant and non-immigrant background at the individual and classroom levels. The scale includes six subscales in the two broad dimensions of equality and inclusion: contact and cooperation, (un)equal treatment, and color-evasion, and cultural pluralism: heritage and intercultural learning, critical consciousness, and polyculturalism. Using data from 1,335 secondary school students in Germany (Mage = 14.7; 51% male; 51% immigrant background), the scale demonstrated measurement invariance by immigrant background, gender, and school track, and reliability at individual and classroom levels. A more positive diversity climate, with better intercultural relations (equality and inclusion) and more opportunities to learn about cultural diversity (cultural pluralism), was associated with more positive student outcomes. Interestingly, polyculturalism was not associated with negative effects observed for other facets of cultural pluralism. Relations for different climate aspects also varied by outcome and students’ immigrant background. This underscores the importance of a nuanced perspective when evaluating different approaches to cultural diversity in context.
Original languageEnglish
Article number101971
JournalContemporary Educational Psychology
Volume65
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Apr 2021
Externally publishedYes

Keywords

  • Classroom cultural diversity climate
  • Diverse schools
  • Multigroup analyses
  • Multilevel analyses
  • Adolescents

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