Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin - Department of Social Sciences - Berlin Graduate School of Social Science

Chenru Hou

Chenru Hou

BGSS Generation 2022



Mechanisms behind the effects of multidimensional classroom diversity on academic performance and educational inequality: social cohesion, social capital, and social closure



Prof. Dr. Zerrin Salikutluk



As diversity in society is increasing, schools and classrooms are also becoming more and more diverse with regard to student characteristics. To find the consequences of such diversity on students' achievement, previous research has attempted to analyze the effects of diversity in several dimensions, such as the diversity involving ethnicity and socioeconomic status. However, these studies provide mixed evidence with regard to whether diversity has positive or negative effects on students' educational outcomes. Furthermore, existing studies have failed to investigate the mechanisms behind the effects of diversity. To bridge these gaps, my dissertation will focus on whether and why diversity affects students' educational achievement. According to existing theories, social cohesion and social capital are assumed as possible mechanisms behind the effects of classroom diversity. At the macro level, schooling can break social segregation and encourages equality. Therefore, whether diversity within education influences the reproduction of educational inequality also forms part of my dissertation. The break of social closure is seen as a mechanism behind the correlation between classroom diversity and educational inequality. When focusing on these research aspects, my dissertation mainly concentrates on peer effects within classrooms, where students shape their daily lives. In addition, individuals simultaneously have multiple characteristics, such as gender, ethnicity, and socioeconomic background, that is, diversity is also discussed as comprising multiple dimensions. Thus, multidimensional diversity indexes will be used in my project. As quantitative research, my dissertation will use large-scale datasets with multi-level analysis designs.