Trending Topic Research File: Affirmative Action
Trending Topic Research File: Affirmative Action
Affirmative Action

Trending Topic Research File

Despite two Supreme Court rulings on the issue since 2013, the future of affirmative action in college admissions is still being debated, and it remains one of the most contentious issues in American higher education. In recent years, AERA’s journals have examined many aspects of affirmative action, including:

  • Educational, cognitive, and social benefits of diversity
  • Factors essential to a positive campus racial climate
  • Impact of state bans and court rulings

The following compendium of open-access articles are inclusive of all substantive AERA journal content regarding affirmative action published since 2009. This page will be updated as new articles are published. 

AERA Journal Articles

Note: Articles are listed below in reverse chronological order of publication. Click here for the list by author’s last name. 

Affirming Race, Diversity, and Equity Through Black and Latinx Students' Lived Experiences
American Educational Research Journal May 2017
This study uses critical race theory to examine how high-achieving Black and Latinx college students make meaning of and navigate affirmative action policy discourses in an era of colorblind racial policies
Authors: Rican Vue, Siduri Jayaram Haslerig, Walter R. Allen

Efficacy Versus Equity: What Happens When States Tinker with College Admissions in a Race-Blind Era?
Educational Evaluation and Policy Analysis June 2016
Researchers found that adding SAT/ACT or exit exam criteria to an existing rank-based admissions policy significantly decreases enrollment among minorities, low-income students, and students who attend low socioeconomic status high schools.

Authors: Sandra E. BlackKalena E. CortesJane Arnold Lincove

Holistic Admissions After Affirmative Action: Does "Maximizing" the High School Curriculum Matter? 
Educational Evaluation and Policy Analysis June 2016
Researchers found that curriculum maximization has very little effect on students’ probability of college admission outside of states with affirmative action bans.
Authors: Michael N. BastedoJoseph E. HowardAllyson Flaster

Beyond Declines in Student Body Diversity: How Campus-Level Administrators Understand a Prohibition on Race-Conscious Postsecondary Admissions Policies
American Educational Research Journal October 2015
Researchers found that the implementation of an affirmative action ban at the University of Michigan contributed to declines in student body diversity and negatively influenced work critical to the success of students of color.
Authors: Liliana M. Garces, Courtney D. Cogburn  

Balancing Liberty and Equality: Justice Kennedy’s Decisive Vote in Fisher v. University of Texas, Part II
Educational Researcher October 2015
This essay considers the potential ramifications of the Supreme Court’s review of Fisher v. University of Texas, Austin with a specific focus on Justice Kennedy’s positions in previous cases to determine how he may vote.
Authors: Liliana M. Garces  

Changes in Levels of Affirmative Action in College Admissions in Response to Statewide Bans and Judicial Rulings
Educational Evaluation and Policy Analysis June 2014
The researchers have produced the first empirical estimates using national-level data to show the extent to which levels of affirmative action in college admissions decisions have changed during the period of 1992 to 2004.
Authors: Grant H. Blume, Mark C. Long  

Dynamic Diversity: Toward a Contextual Understanding of Critical Mass
Educational Researcher March 2014
The concept of critical mass, which has become central in litigation efforts related to affirmative action admissions policies, is highlighted by the authors’ definition of dynamic diversity in this article.
Authors: Liliana M. Garces, Uma M. Jayakumar  

Diversity ≠ Inclusion: Promoting Integration in Higher Education
Educational Researcher December 2013
The author argues that enrollment of a diverse student body should be only the first step toward the goal of broader social inclusion by focusing on organizational strategies and practices that promote meaningful social and academic interactions among students who differ in their experiences, views, and traits.
Authors: Marta Tienda 

Does Socioeconomic  Diversity Make a Difference? Examining the Effects of Racial and Socioeconomic Diversity on the Campus Climate for Diversity
American Educational Research Journal June 2013
The authors’ findings indicate that both socioeconomic and racial diversity are essential to promoting a positive campus racial climate.
Authors: Julie J. Park, Nida Denson, Nicholas A. Bowman  

Affirmative Action Hanging in the Balance: Giving Voice to the Research Community in the Supreme Court
Educational Researcher April 2013
An essay calling to provide the Supreme Court the best research findings the country can offer when the rights of U.S. students of color are at stake.
Author: Gary Orfield  

AERA et al. Amicus Brief: Fisher v. University of Texas at Austin
Educational Researcher April 2013
The American Educational Research Association, along with six other organizations, submitted this brief in support of the respondents in the Fisher v. University of Texas at Austin case in the Supreme Court of the United States.  

Understanding the Impact of Affirmative Action Bans in Different Graduate Fields of Study
American Educational Research Journal January 2013
Examining the effects of affirmative action bans in four states, this study finds that affirmative action bans have led to reductions in underrepresented minority participation in science-related fields.
Author: Liliana M. Garces  

When the Majority Rules: Ballot Initiatives, Race-Conscious Education Policy, and the Public Good
Review of Research in Education March 2012
The authors explore how the policies affected by direct democratic ballot initiatives, such as affirmative action, affect the common good.
Author: Michele S. Moses, Lauren P. Saenz  

Moral and Instrumental Rationales for Affirmative Action in Five National Contexts
Educational Researcher April 2010
The author clarifies the differing rationales for affirmative action in France, India, South Africa, the United States, and Brazil using examining social contexts and philosophical analysis.
Author: Michele S. Moses  

College Diversity Experiences and Cognitive Development: A Meta-Analysis
Review of Research in Education March 2010
This study uses meta-analysis to examine the relationship between college diversity experiences and cognitive development.
Author: Nicholas A. Bowman  

Minority Student Academic Performance Under the Uniform Admission Law: Evidence From the University of Texas at Austin
Education Evaluation and Policy Analysis March 2010
The authors examine University of Texas at Austin administrative data from three regimes: affirmative action (1990-1996), no rank or preference (1997) and top 10% sans race preference (1998-2004), finding that high school attended rather than test score is largely responsible for racial differences in college performance.
Authors: Sunny X. Niu, Marta Tienda  

Racial Diversity Matters: The Impact of Diversity-Related Student Engagement and Institutional Context
American Educational Research Journal June 2009
Results from this study suggest that the benefits associated with diversity may be more far-reaching than previously documented.
Authors: Nida Denson, Mitchell J. Chang

By Author

Allen, Walter -
Bastedo, Michael N. -
Black, Sandra E. -
Blume, Grant H. –
Bowman. Nicholas A. –
Chang, Mitchell J. –
Cogburn, Courtney D. -
Cortes, Kalena E. -
Denson, Nida –
Flaster, Allyson -
Garces, Liliana M. –
Haslerig, Siduri Jayaram -
Howard, Joseph E. - 
Jayakumar, Uma M. –
Lincove, Jane A. -
Long, Mark C. –
Moses, Michele S. –
Niu, Sunny X. –
Orfield, Gary –
Park, Julie J. –
Saenz, Lauren P. –
Designed by Weber-Shandwick   Powered by eNOAH