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Cultural diversity approaches

Cultural diversity approaches_Logo

Project duration: 01.02.2018 - 31.01.2021

Cultural diversity approaches in schools and their implications for student achievement and adjustment

The project investigates how schools can manage and accommodate cultural diversity. We examine how diversity approaches focusing on equality, pluralism or assimilation affect majority and minority students’ outcomes in Germany and in Belgium and how the different approaches interact with other factors at student, teacher, classroom and school levels.

Project description

The project investigates how schools can manage and accommodate cultural diversity. As schools in Europe become increasingly culturally diverse, interest in cultural diversity approaches in schools grows. Prominent diversity approaches include pluralism (or multiculturalism, i.e., acknowledging and appreciating cultural differences), assimilationism (i.e., expecting that ethnic minorities to adopt the majority culture by relinguishing the ethnic minority culture), and equality (i.e., focusing on equality regardless of individual and cultural differences).

The effects of school diversity approaches on immigrant minority and host majority students’ school achievement and adjustment have rarely been investigated. Existing evidence is mixed, suggesting that other factors may be at play. However, little is known about the interplay of school diversity approaches with other factors to predict student outcomes.

Taking an ecological approach of teaching and learning in diverse environments, the proposed project examines for whom and in which contexts the school diversity approaches support students’ school achievement and adjustment. We focus on Germany and Belgium as comparative contexts. Complementing large-scale longitudinal, multi-level data with a field intervention, we investigate (1) how teachers' beliefs about diversity approaches affect student achievement and adjustment, (2) how student and teacher perceptions of school diversity approaches affect student-teacher relationship quality and in turn student adjustment and achievement, (3) how students’ age affects the relationship of diversity approaches with student outcomes and (4) whether a diversity intervention conducted by teachers themselves would improve student outcomes.

Lead researcher at IFS

Foto von Prof. Dr. Aileen Edele Prof. Dr. Aileen Edele,

Campus Nord, CDI, Room CDI / 222
Telephone: (+49)231 755-7418


External project partners

1)    Dr. Maja Schachner, Universität Potsdam, maja.schachner@uni-potsdam.de

2)    Dr. Gülseli Baysu, Queen's University Belfast, G.Baysu@qub.ac.uk


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