Date of Award

Fall 4-2013

Degree Type


Degree Name


Degree Program

Educational Administration


Educational Leadership, Counseling, and Foundations

Major Professor

Dr. Brian Beabout

Second Advisor

Dr. Tammie Causey-Konate

Third Advisor

Dr. Zarus Watson

Fourth Advisor

Dr. Yvelyne Germain-Mccarthy

Fifth Advisor

Dr. Claire Amy Thoreson


In our increasingly diverse global workforce, both employers and institutions of higher learning want to know if colleges and universities equip their students with adequate cultural competence skills. Reliable instruments to measure cultural competence levels for a general student body are not widely available, however. In this report, a self-developed 33-item instrument was designed to assess college seniors’ cultural competence levels, including sub-scales for cultural awareness and cultural knowledge. An expert panel was selected to establish content validity. A pilot study was conducted to improve the design of survey format. The Cronbach’s alpha was .770 according to the reliability test.

Six hundred and twenty-one seniors from two 4-year, selective public universities participated in this initial study. Analysis revealed statistically significant differences in cultural competence levels among students of different academic fields and demographic backgrounds, according to the results of t-tests and ANOVA. The study found that the students of liberal arts field had a higher cultural competence level than those of professional/vocational field did. The data also noted that female students had higher competence scores than their counterparts did. Asian/Pacific Island students had a lower mean score on cultural competence than the students of both African American and Biracial/Multiracial did.

Generalizing the findings of this study should be taken cautiously given that this research was limited to a sample of two public universities. Nevertheless, all findings indicated taking classes related to cultural diversity improve students’ cultural competence.


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