Examining the Validity and Reliability of College Students’ Racial Identification Choices
Casandra Harper

About the research


NAEd/Spencer Postdoctoral Fellowship

Award Year



University of Missouri

Primary Discipline

Higher Education
This mixed methods study uses Racial Formation Theory to examine students’ responses to racial identification survey questions to detect patterns of inconsistency in their choices and, through interviews, explore the meaning students make of their race, as well as their rationale for identifying or opting out of identifying with race in different contexts. This study will quantitatively establish the extent to which a sample of college students vary their responses to questions of race and will qualitatively explore the reasoning associated with these racial designation choices. The ways in which we count race has implications for policy as well as our broader cultural understanding and awareness. If identity dimensions are more fluid and dynamic than can be reliably and validly captured on a survey using current methods, this raises questions regarding how researchers and practitioners can better capture such constructs in educational research and practice.
About Casandra Harper

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