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Student Diversity: Clarifying Meanings

Diversity is broadly defined as “showing a great deal of variety,” or “a range of different things.” When used to describe humans, diverse and diversity can refer to variations or differences in various characteristics, including race, ethnicity, gender, sexual orientation, age, socioeconomic status, religion, physical ability, national origin, and culture.

In relation to education, the language of diversity is everywhere and is especially noticeable in the terms diverse students and student diversity. Because they are so ubiquitous, the concepts deserve scrutiny lest they lose their usefulness from overuse or from application to many different uses. It is especially important to consider meanings and usage in often contentious and sensitive questions about students' race, ethnicity, linguistic background, socioeconomic status, religious or sexual orientation, and more.

The purpose of ...

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