Research News

Paper co-authored by UW-Madison's Bellmore shows academic benefit of ethnic diversity

October 16, 2017

A team of researchers, including UW-Madison’s Amy Bellmore, has found that not only is an ethnically diverse school good for students’ cultural appreciation, but it may also be good for their grades.

Bellmore is a professor with the School of Education’s Department of Educational Psychology.

Amy Bellmore
Bellmore
The report is titled, “Early Adolescents’ Peer Experiences with Ethnic Diversity in Middle School: Implications for Academic Outcomes,” and it appears in the Journal of Youth and Adolescence. The report found that all students in the study benefited academically from cross-ethnic peer interactions.

“The fact that all students in the study -- African American, Asian, Latino/a, multiethnic and white -- who had interactions with other ethnically different students improved academically is another step in showing how diversity benefits students,” said Bellmore, who is chair of the Department of Educational Psychology’s Human Development program area.  “We know these interactions are mutually beneficial on a number of levels and now, the data shows it improves the students’ academics too.”

The lead author on the paper is Jakeem Amir Lewis of the University of California, Davis’ Department of Human Ecology. In addition to Bellmore, additional co-authors include: Adrienne Nishina (University of California, Davis); Alysha Ramirez Hall (University of California, Davis), Shannon Cain (Willamette University) and Melissa Witkow (Willamette University).

To learn more about the study, check out this University of California, Davis news release.