Looking Deeper than the Gradebook: Assessing Cultural Diversity Attitudes Among Undergraduates

Robert Lake, Kent Rittschof


Identification of college students’ attitudes about diversity issues is an important part of the assessment of student development across many fields of study. This article discusses an action research approach and classroom application strategies stemming from a survey of 88 pre-service teacher candidates on their attitudes toward homosexuality, race, social class, and women’s equality, following a university course on diversity. Data were examined using a Rasch model approach to determine and compare linear attitude measures and resulting change from pretest to posttest. Findings included endorsement difficulty changes among diversity issues as well as changes in student attitudes, primarily though not exclusively in concert with the course curriculum. Teaching approaches including the use of personal narratives were considered relative to findings. Areas for enhancement of instructional strategies were identified. Implications for teacher-scholars on examining linear measures of student attitudes and improving instruction on diversity issues in higher education were discussed.


diversity; attitude change; Rasch model; personal narratives; cultural diversity

Full Text: