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59 Ohio St. L.J. 733 (1998)
Diversity Effects on Student Outcomes: Social Science Evidence

handle is hein.journals/ohslj59 and id is 749 raw text is: Diversity Effects on Student Outcomes: Social
Science Evidence
This Article examines the findings of social science research relative to
the impact of diversity on student learning and various other social outcomes.
The author outlines a conceptual model that identifies ability, effort, and
opportunity as the primary determinants of learning. Research findings are
related to the model to show how diversity creates social processes that affect
student outcomes.
Empirical studies of desegregation at the elementary and secondary school
levels show benefits of desegregation for the academic achievement of minority
students attending predominantly white schools. Similarly, the racial attitudes and
sociability of minority and majority students improve in desegregated schools. At
the collegiate level, studies reveal advantages of racial and ethnic diversity in
terms of specific kinds of learning. Students of all racial and ethnic backgrounds
gain a better understanding of race and ethnicity, which teaches them to respect
cultural differences in a multicultural environment. Institutional support for
diversity is critical to insuring that minority students benefit from diversity.
The goals of affirmative action are threefold. First, affirmative action policies
aim to compensate minority groups and women for past discrimination. Second,
affirmative action aims to counter present discrimination. Third, affirmative action
endeavors to create multicultural institutions. Tierney refers to these three goals
as compensation, correction, and diversification.1 Affirmative action policies
achieve their goals by widening the pool of candidates considered for admission
to academic institutions and for employment.
Affirmative action policies and practices are highly controversial. This is not
surprising because affirmative action has legal, philosophical, political, social, and
ethical dimensions, all of which can be considered and argued.2 Proponents of
* White Chair of Sociology, University of Notre Dame. Maureen T. Hallinan earned her
B.A. at Marynount College, her M.S. at University of Notre Dame, and her Ph.D. at University
of Chicago. This Article was prepared for presentation at the Symposium, Twenty Years After
Bakke: The Law and Social Science of Affirmative Action in Higher Education, The Ohio State
University College of Law, April 3-4, 1998. The author is grateful for the support from the
Institute for Educational Initiatives at the University of Notre Dame. She expresses appreciation
to Vladimir Khmelkov, Warren Kubitschek, Amy Orr, Kathiyn Schiller, Xiao-qing Wang, and
Jessica Ziembrowski for assistance with review.
1 See William G. Tiemey, The Parameters of Affimative Action: Equity and Excellence in
the Academy, 67 REv. OF EDuC. REs. 165-170 (1997).

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