Ethnic Studies Courses in High School Can Lead to Academic Success for Minority Students

StanfordA study by researchers at the Graduate School of Education at Stanford University found that minority students who took an ethnic studies course in high school had higher attendance rates and greater academic success than minority students who did not take such classes. The study found that students who took the course missed fewer days at school and completed more course credits they needed to graduate from high school. The researchers found that attendance for those encouraged to enroll in ethnic studies classes increased by 21 percentage points, grade point average by 1.4 points, and credits earned by 23.

Emily Penner, a postdoctoral researcher at Stanford and co-author of the paper, stated that “schools have tried a number of approaches to support struggling students, and few have been this effective. It’s a novel approach that suggests that making school relevant and engaging to struggling students can really pay off.”

The article, “The Causal Effects of Cultural Relevance: Evidence from an Ethnic Studies Curriculum,” was posted on the website of the National Bureau of Economic Research. It may be accessed here.

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