More than ever, schools and districts are focused on creating learning environments where each and every student feels safe, included, and engaged. From implementing culturally responsive teaching to rethinking district-wide policies, districts are working to break the historical patterns and systems that contribute to widespread inequities in education today.
Tracking objective metrics — such as achievement gaps and behavior disproportionality — is critical to analyzing and addressing equity challenges at the district level. Until now, however, students' subjective experiences of racial diversity and inclusion have been missing from the picture. These experiences are important to understand: Student voice can serve as a compass, helping district leaders identify specific levers to pull to improve equity in education.
"Student voice can serve as a compass, helping district leaders identify specific levers to pull to improve equity in education."
That's why many districts are beginning to assess school climate through the lens of equity and inclusion. By gathering students' perspectives on racial diversity, equity, and inclusion in school, districts have a clear snapshot of strengths and areas for growth for their school communities.
This year, we analyzed nearly 12,000 student responses to the Panorama Equity and Inclusion Survey, an instrument for grades 6-12 that measures how diverse, integrated, and fair school is for students from different races, ethnicities, or cultures. The results pointed to the impactful work that districts are doing to promote equity, as well as key opportunities for improvement.
To share our top findings, we created an infographic on the state of equity in education — as told by students. See the full infographic and our main takeaways below.
4 Key Takeaways on Students' Experiences of Equity in School
- Students reflected positively on many aspects of equity and inclusion in the classroom—for example, four out of five students say that adults at school are "quite" or "extremely" fair in how they treat people from different races, ethnicities, or cultures.
- Higher-achieving students also have more positive experiences of diversity and inclusion in school.
- Students' favorable perceptions of diversity and inclusion in school decline substantially from grades 6 to 12.
- Experience gaps exist among race-ethnicity groups when it comes to rating the diverseness and fairness of schools.