Academic Literature

Multiculturalism as a Dimension of School Climate: The Impact on the Academic Achievement of Asian American and Hispanic Youth

2010
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Multiculturalism as a Dimension of School Climate: The Impact on the Academic Achievement of Asian American and Hispanic Youth

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Multiculturalism constitutes an important element of school climate, but the relation between perceived multiculturalism and academic achievement has not been widely studied. This study examined the influence of students’ perceptions of school support for multiculturalism on academic achievement among 280 Asian American and Hispanic youth, including ethnic identity and ethnocultural empathy as potential mediators. Results of structural equation modeling revealed that perceived multiculturalism was significantly positively related to ethnocultural empathy for Asian Americans and Hispanics, and that ethnocultural empathy, in turn, was predictive of academic achievement for Hispanics only. Results of bootstrapping to test for mediation effects revealed ethnocultural empathy to be a salient mediator for Hispanic youth. Although ethnic identity did not mediate the link between multiculturalism and academic achievement, ethnic identity was significantly predictive of achievement for Hispanics. On the whole, these findings suggest that fostering a school climate supportive of multiculturalism may improve empathy toward ethnic out-groups. Furthermore, schools that promote compassion and tolerance for diverse ethnic groups may achieve better academic outcomes among Hispanic youth.

Chang, J., & Le, T. (2010). Multiculturalism as a dimension of school climate: The impact on the academic achievement of Asian American and Hispanic youth. Cultural Diversity and Ethnic Minority Psychology, 16(4), 485-492.

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