Beyond the binary classification - testing a disparity-weighted indicator of cultural diversity

Thielmann, Merle-Sophie ; Karst, Karina ; Fehringer, Benedict C. O. F.

Document Type: Conference presentation
Year of publication: 2023
Conference title: EARLI 2023, 20th Biennial EARLI Conference
Location of the conference venue: Thessaloniki, Greece
Date of the conference: 22.-26.08.2023
Related URLs:
Publication language: English
Institution: School of Social Sciences > Unterrichtsqualität in heterogenen Kontexten (Karst 2023-)
Subject: 370 Education
Keywords (English): cultural diversity , measurement , student achievement
Abstract: Theoretical predictions regarding the effects of cultural classroom diversity focus on various aspects of diversity. Beyond the proportion of students with an immigration background, the number of different origin countries, their relative proportions in the classroom and the cultural similarity of countries might affect student achievement through different mediating processes (Rjosk et al., 2017). However, currently established measures of diversity do not fully capture this complexity. This study tests a weighted indicator of cultural diversity that includes the similarity of origin countries on two cultural dimensions. Using a dataset of N=1614 fifth-graders, we compare this indicator to established diversity measures like minority proportion, number of origin countries and Simpson’s D and test it as a predictor of individual students’ reading achievement using multilevel models. The weighted indicator shows comparatively small correlations to established diversity measures (0.23 ≤ r ≤ 0.79). We found no significant composition effects of cultural diversity indices beyond the minority proportion, but a singificant cross-level interaction between the weighted indicator and students' beginning-of-term reading achievement. We discuss the potential of weighted diversity indices in further exploring current mixed empirical and theoretical findings.

SDG 4: Quality Education

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