Critical Examination of Candidates’ Diversity Competence: Rigorous and Systematic Assessment of Candidates' Efficacy to Teach Diverse Student Populations

Published: 
Feb. 01, 2012

Source: The Teacher Educator, Volume 47, Issue 1, p. 29–44, 2012.
(Reviewed by the Portal Team)

The authors discuss the inadequacy of current assessment practices to measure teacher candidates’ competence to teach diverse students.
The authors use reliable and valid instruments to measure candidates’ efficacy to teach diverse students, which will provide effective data for teacher education programs to become proactive to improve programs.

Systematic Assessments of Diversity Competence

The authors present two new scales to measure teachers’ competence to teach diverse populations.
The Teachers’ Sense of Inclusion Efficacy Scale (I– TSES; Benton-Borghi, 2006) measures the teachers’ sense of efficacy to teach students with disabilities (adapted from the original TSES).
Furthermore, the Teachers’ Sense of Diversity Efficacy Scale (D–TSES; Benton-Borghi & Chang, 2010) measures teachers’ sense of efficacy to teach diverse students (adapted from the I–TSES).

These reliable and valid efficacy instruments based on the highly reliable and valid Teachers’ Sense of Efficacy Scale (TSES; Tschannen-Moran & Woolfolk Hoy, 2001).
Furthermore, these instruments include a new construct that measures candidates’ competence in Universal Design for Learning (UDL) and technology.
UDL provides a framework to guide the development of curricula that meets the needs of all students, rather than those with disabilities exclusively.

Teacher education programs that integrate all three scales—TSES, I–TSES, and D–TSES—into their systematic program assessment would be able to more comprehensively address candidates’ diversity competence.

Assessment Practice and Applications
Findings reveal that both inservice and preservice teachers’ mean scores on all subscales were lower on the I–TSES and D– TSES and higher on the TSES.
Inservice and preservice teachers both felt less efficacious to teach students with disabilities and diverse student populations, suggesting the need for teacher educators to improve programs to prepare candidates to teach every student.

Moreover, both inservice and preservice groups scored lowest on the technology subscale even though it is paramount to improving student performance for diverse learners. Teacher educators might consider innovative ways to integrate technology into all teacher education curricula.

Compared to preservice teachers, inservice teachers scored higher on all subscales for the TSES and in the instructional strategies and classroom management subscales for the
I–TSES and D–TSES.
However, in– service teachers did not score higher than preservice teachers on the technology subscales within the I–TSES and D–TSES.
This finding indicated that inservice teachers may not integrate technology into their teaching to accommodate diverse needs and it may be that they graduated their program with insufficient training in the integration of technology to teach diverse student populations.

Conclusions

Teacher education programs can implement this assessment practice in the beginning, in the middle, end point of the program, and after their first year of teaching.
These programs can derive quantitative data to measure long-term growth in candidates’ efficacy to teach diverse student populations.
These instruments also enable teacher educators to provide vicarious and mastery experiences that will reduce the gap in candidates’ efficacy and ultimately to reduce the gap in achievement in the students they teach.

References
Benton-Borghi, B. H. (2006). Teaching every student in the 21st century: Teacher efficacy and technology (Doctoral dissertation, Ohio State University). Retrieved from http://etd.ohiolink.edu/send-pdf.cgi/BentonBorghi%20Beatrice%20 Hope.pdf?acc_num=osu1155246234

Benton-Borghi, B. H., & Chang, Y. (2010, February). Achieving Inclusivity and Equity for Diverse Student Populations: Increasing Teacher Efficacy to Teach Every Student Using Universal Design for Learning Principles. Paper presented at the 62nd Annual Conference of the American Association of College of Teacher Education (AACTE), Atlanta, GA.

Tschannen-Moran, M., & Woolfolk Hoy, A. (2001). Teacher efficacy: Capturing an elusive construct. Teaching and Teacher Education, 17, 783–805.

Updated: Jun. 18, 2013
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