Attitudes of high school students toward three selected ethnic groups as affected by participation in an ethnic studies program Public Deposited

http://ir.library.oregonstate.edu/concern/graduate_thesis_or_dissertations/cc08hk192

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  • The purpose of the study was to determine whether taking a course of study about ethnic minorities and racial prejudice in the United States would produce a statistically significant change in the attitudes of white, middle-class high school students toward three ethnic minorities i. e., Blacks, Native Americans, and Chicanos. An additional purpose was to determine whether an extended and in-depth contact with a number of ethnic minority teachers would have the effect of changing students' racial attitudes in the direction of lessened prejudice. A special Thurstone type attitude inventory was administered to groups of white high school students at the beginning and end of an 18 week school term. The control group, consisting of 118 students, chose to enroll in the regular 11th grade United States history course. A total of 91 experimental group students chose to enroll in a two-part course consisting of a first 9 week class called The Nature of Prejudice, and a second 9 week class in either Black Studies or Native American Studies. The distinguishing characteristic of all experimental classes was that a team of ethnic teachers (students at the local University) participated as equals with the regular high school teachers in all classroom activities. It was hypothesized that the attitudes towards minorities of the two self-selected groups would be the same at the beginning of the experiment, and that neither the special classes nor the U. S. history class would have any effect on the attitudes of either experimental or control group students. The data which resulted from the pretest and posttest scores on the attitude inventory were analyzed by applying t-tests, paired t-tests and one-way analysis of variance at the .05 level of significance. Analysis of the data revealed the following: 1. The scores of both experimental and control group students indicated a positive attitude toward the three ethnic minorities. 2. Native Americans were regarded most positively by both experimental and control group students. 3. Experimental group students were significantly more positive in their attitudes toward minorities before the experiment began than were control group students. 4. Attitudes of experimental group students toward ethnic minorities became slightly less positive after students had completed the special course. The change was not statistically significant and the total score remained definitely positive vis-a-vis ethnic minorities. 5. Attitudes of control group students toward ethnic minorities were unaffected by the course in United States history.
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