Exploring racial/ethnic identity as a mediator for the relationship between classroom diversity and school belonging
Linn, Rebecca Clare
Sipe, Cameron Evangeline
Uribe Méndez, Samarah
May 20, 2020
School belonging has been linked to many positive outcomes, including academic engagement, intrinsic motivation, and general self-esteem. However, most research studying school belonging has not directly examined the roles that classroom composition and racial/ethnic identity play. As American schools become increasingly racially/ethnically diverse, it is critical to consider the effect of these diverse classrooms on an individual’s feeling of school belonging. This present study examines the relationship between classroom racial/ethnic composition and school belonging. Further, the study proposes that an individual’s racial/ethnic identity will partially mediate the relationship between classroom composition and school belonging. We recruited 50 participants from two high schools in rural Eastern Oregon. Participants completed a series of measures to examine their racial/ethnic identity, sense of school belonging, and perceptions of school diversity. Classroom composition did not predict school belonging, nor was the relationship mediated by an individual’s racial/ethnic identity. However, we did find that an individual’s racial/ethnic identity significantly predicted their sense of school belonging. The present study contributes to a growing body of research that explores the implications of an increasingly diverse school environment and its implications for student development.
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