Cognitive and non-cognitive effects of diversity in Dutch elementary schools
Denver, CO : American Educational Research Association
InAnnual Conference of AERA: Understanding complex ecologies in a changing world
Annual Conference of AERA (Denver, CO, 30 April - 4 May, 2010)
Article in monograph or in proceedings
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SW OZ BSI OLO
Annual Conference of AERA: Understanding complex ecologies in a changing world
SubjectLearning and Plasticity
Recent national and local policy initiatives to promote desegregation within the Dutch educational system aim at cognitive as well as non-cognitive student outcomes. Desegregation (i.e. the increase of ethnic diversity within schools) is assumed to not only enhance students’ achievements, but also to promote more favorable out-group attitudes which are seen as a precursor for social integration. These assumptions are based on theoretical notions regarding linguistic and cultural enrichment of diversity within classroom contexts, which are expected to result in positive cognitive outcomes of at-risk students. Also, theoretical perspectives regarding the effects of inter-ethnic contact lead to the expectation that classroom diversity increases students’ positive out-group attitudes. Several empirical studies in the Netherlands have been aimed at an assessment of the presumed positive outcomes of increased within-schools diversity. In this paper, an up-to-date review is presented of Dutch studies of elementary school composition effects on student achievement, and students in-group and out-group attitudes. The results of both types of studies reveal that desegregation may not lead to the desired outcomes at student level. Weak and even contrary effects of diversity on student achievement and ethnic attitudes have been reported. Based on this review, conditions for positive effects of classroom diversity and implications for education policy will be discussed.
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