UCLA Middle School Diversity Project

The UCLA Middle School Project began in Fall of 2009 as a 3-year longitudinal study with over 6,000 participants. The purpose of this research is to test interrelated hypotheses about the psychosocial benefits of racial/ethnic diversity in urban middle schools. It is hypothesized that greater diversity can benefit students' mental health, intergroup attitudes, and school adaptation.


Our goals for this project are:


(1) To understand the social and academic benefits for students who attend middle schools that are racially and ethnically diverse. 

(2) To focus on the development of cross-ethnic friendships in ethnically diverse middle schools. 


(3) To study the ways in which ethnic diversity helps students feel less vulnerable (i.e. less lonely or bullied) in school. 


(4) To test hypotheses about how more cross-ethnic friendships and less vulnerability contribute to better mental health, better intergroup relations, and better academic achievement over the 3 years of middle school.


Data are gathered in Fall and Spring of 6th grade and in Spring of 7th and 8th grade, for a total of four waves of data.

UCLA High School Diversity Project

The High School Diversity Project is the second phase of our Middle School Diversity Project aimed at researching successful pathways to high school completion. The purpose of this research is to follow our large and ethnically diverse sample of middle school students across the critical high school transition and then through the four years of high school. Because ninth grade achievement is often critical in predicting whether youth stay in or drop out of high school, the overarching goal of the project is to capture students’ experiences at this significant juncture and how those experiences (a smooth versus disruptive transition) influence pathways to high school completion. The large sample is comprised of Latino, African American, Asian/Pacific Islander, White, and multi-racial youth who transition to high school in Fall of 2012, 2013, or 2014. These high schools are expected to have a wide range of racial/ethnic diversity, allowing for tests of the social and academic benefits and challenges of racial/ethnic diversity during the high school transition.