As your district works to create a safe, equitable, and inclusive learning environment for students, data is one of the best tools at your disposal.
In fact, many schools are beginning to measure students’ experiences of cultural diversity, equity, and inclusion in school. Student voice data can add tremendous value to conversations about improving school climate from an equity and inclusion lens.
National trends can also offer insight into where to focus your district's equity initiatives. At Panorama, we analyzed nearly 12,000 student responses to the Panorama Equity and Inclusion Survey, a first-of-its-kind instrument that measures how diverse, integrated, and fair school is for students from different races, ethnicities, or cultures.
The results give a glimpse into how students across the country rate their experiences of equity and inclusion at school. They also dive into the connections between students' perceptions of equity and demographic variables such as GPA, grade level, and race-ethnicity group.
Watch this episode of Research Minute and keep reading to learn the top three findings from our research on the state of diversity, equity, and inclusion in schools.
Before we get into our top three findings, here are two quick statistics that can give us hope:
- Overall, 4 out of 5 students said that adults at school are fair in how they treat people from different races, ethnicities, or cultures
- 3 out of 4 students said that it was “quite” or “extremely common” for students at their school to have close friends from different racial, ethnic, or cultural backgrounds.
Finding #1: Students who get better grades also have more positive experiences of diversity and inclusion in school.
The correlation between Diversity and Inclusion and student GPA is greater than almost any other correlation we see between course grades and students’ responses to survey topics, including correlations with social-emotional skills like Self-Efficacy, Grit, and Growth Mindset.
It could be that good grades lead to more diverse experiences in school, that diverse experiences help kids achieve, or that some third factor influences both diversity and achievement.
Finding #2: Students’ experiences of race and culture in school depend on their grade level.
On this graph, you’ll see that students’ perceptions of diversity and inclusion decline substantially from the start of middle school to the end of high school.
Whereas 91 percent of sixth graders have favorable perceptions of diversity and inclusion at their school, only 78 percent of twelfth graders do.
This tells us that as students mature and progress through school, it is increasingly important for educators to have conversations with each other—and with students and families—about race and culture.
Finding #3: Gaps in experience exist between students of different race-ethnicity groups.
On average, African-American and Hispanic students perceive school as less diverse, integrated, and fair than other students. White and Asian students perceive school as more diverse, integrated, and fair than other students.
Interestingly, multi-racial students perceive diversity and inclusion similarly to Asian and White students—and much more positively than Hispanic or Black students. Perhaps identifying with two or more races or ethnicities allows multi-racial students to more easily join multiple social groups in school.
Student voice is critically important to understanding and addressing issues of equity. If your district is interested in measuring diversity and equity at scale, download the Panorama Equity and Inclusion Survey and get in touch with us to learn about our advanced survey tools for school districts.