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Standard 4: Diversity

The unit designs, implements, and evaluates curriculum and provides experiences for candidates to acquire and demonstrate the knowledge, skills, and professional dispositions necessary to help all students learn. Assessments indicate that candidates can demonstrate and apply proficiencies related to diversity. Experiences provided for candidates include working with diverse populations, including higher education and P–12 school faculty, candidates, and students in P– 12 schools.

4.1 Statement about the evidence

In its conceptual framework, the unit clearly articulates proficiencies related to diversity that candidates are expected to develop during their professional programs. The three competencies are support of equitable and inclusive learning environments; awareness of individual and cultural differences that impact teaching and learning (important dimensions of diversity include ethnicity, race, socioeconomic status, gender, exceptionalities language, religion, sexual orientation, and geographical area); and recognition that diversities affect the design of, outcomes of, interpretation of, and feedback stemming from, assessments. These competencies are taught and assessed through pre-determined learning outcomes in several required classes and field experiences in both initial and advanced programs.

Required coursework, field experiences, student teaching, and internships provide initial and advanced candidates a well-grounded framework for understanding diversity, including students with exceptionalities and limited English proficiency (LEP). Candidates are aware of different learning styles and are required to adapt instruction or services appropriately for all students, including linguistically and culturally diverse students and students with exceptionalities

Assessment rubrics are broad in initial and advanced programs and include all diversity and special needs except for the specific assessment of knowledge or skills related to English language learner. The student teaching evaluation instrument includes three specific learning outcomes related to the conceptual framework competencies, including: (1)Values and supports student diversity and addresses individual needs; (2) Fosters mutual respect between teacher and students and among students; and (3) Implements instruction based on diverse student needs and assessment data.

Initial candidates are expected to connect lessons, instruction, or services to students’ experiences and cultures. A rubric related specifically to assessing the diversity competencies states that candidates value student diversity and support student learning needs. Initial course requirements and field experiences require that candidates develop knowledge, skills, and dispositions related to sensitivity toward students and families with cultural differences, exceptional needs, and the belief that all students can learn. For example, the Lesson Plan requires candidates to incorporate multiple perspectives in the subject matter being taught or services being provided, assess student learning, and adapt instruction as necessary. In addition, various assessment instruments and rubrics require candidates to develop a classroom and school climate that value diversity.

Advanced candidates also have opportunities to develop knowledge, skills, and dispositions by meeting the unit’s articulated diversity competencies. Although each advanced program has unique courses and clinical experiences, they all have learning outcomes aligned with the competency outcomes and those of the conceptual framework. Evidence such as the programmatic requirements for each advanced program reveals that each program has specific classes related to diversity. For example, the School Counseling program requires a course in counseling in multicultural settings, and by its nature, the curriculum requires candidates to develop proficiencies in identifying students with needs beyond the typical, which naturally includes those from various backgrounds and academic abilities.

Other examples include the Educational Technology Program, which requires a course in adaptive technology, and the Principal and Teacher Leader programs, which require coursework in inclusive education. Diversity competencies are also assessed during all programmatic clinical experiences.

Candidates interact with professional education faculty, faculty from other units, and/or school faculty, both male and female, from at least two ethnic/racial groups. The unit has made efforts to recruit and retain diverse faculty members, and evidence indicates that the numbers of diverse faculty members has increased from two of 11 members in 2005 to 5 of 14 members in 2011. The IR indicates there are 14 faculty members, 8 of whom are white/Caucasian, 6 of whom are African American. Data from exhibits offsite indicate that in 2009-2010, there were 11 professional education faculty members, six of whom were white/Caucasian, five of whom were African American. In addition, faculty classified as “part time not employed by the Institution” included two of the seven who were African American. Of the professional education faculty, 57% are White, and 43% are African American. In addition, 79% of them are women.

Faculty members with whom candidates work in professional education classes and clinical practice have knowledge and experiences related to preparing candidates to work with diverse student populations. One faculty member holds a PhD in Special Education, and one has a Master’s Degree in Mental Retardation and Psychology. Of the 14 current professional education faculty members, six have taught special education or reading in P-12 settings, and three have been superintendents, principals or school counselors. One member was educated in Kenya and does research on closing the achievement gap among African American students. Several of the faculty members serve on state or national boards related to various types of diversity.

Affirmation of the value of diversity is shown through good-faith efforts to increase or maintain faculty diversity. Policies in place guide the recruitment, hiring, and retention efforts made by the unit to increase and maintain diversity among the faculty. The unit participates in the

Minority Teacher Recruitment Project developed locally in Jefferson County Public Schools. In addition, the unit requires cooperating teachers to demonstrate, “an ability to create a learning community that values and builds upon students’ diverse cultures” (IR p. 30).

Enrollment within the unit has increased over the past seven years, and the diversity among candidates has kept pace with enrollment trends. Evidence indicates that 25% of initial candidates and 24% of advanced candidates are African Americans, while one percent of initial candidates are American Indian/Alaskan Native, and one percent of initial candidates are Asian Americans. Fifty-six percent of the initial candidates and 67% of the advanced candidates are white.

In 1904, the “Day Law”, formally named “An Act to Prohibit White and Colored Persons from Attending the Same School”, was passed by the Kentucky legislature, prohibiting the teaching of black and white students in the same school. In addition, the law stated that the school could not run a branch which taught black students within twenty-five miles of the “whites only” school. In response to the case of Brown vs. the Board of Public Education, the state repealed the Day Law in 1948. Spalding was the first higher educational institution in the state to admit African Americans.

Continuing affirmation of the value of diversity is shown through several efforts the unit makes to increase and maintain diversity among the candidates. Policies which guide recruitment and retention of a diverse candidate population include a written commitment to value diversity among candidates, faculty, and administrators within the unit. The unit also participates in the Minority Teacher Recruitment Project and attends the “Aspiring Leaders recruitment fairs” at Newburg Middle School, both of which are organized locally in Jefferson County Public Schools. Another effort made to retain students is to Work with candidates struggling to pass the PRAXIS exams. Results of data analysis done by the unit prompted the dean to assign three credit hours release time to one faculty member to support candidates who struggle.

The unit utilizes a policy that guides placements in settings with students from diverse groups, requiring that initial candidates experience several settings, stipulating that at least 50% of all field placements be in settings with diverse students. To that end, the unit utilizes four main school districts for field experience placements, including Bullitt, Jefferson, Oldham, and Shelby County Schools. Of these, Jefferson and Shelby have the most diversity among their students. Evidence provided shows that Jefferson’s student population consists of 35% African American and 5% Hispanic, while Shelby has a population consisting 10% African Americans and 10% Hispanic students. Each of the districts has a special education population of about 14%, and each also has about 5% of their students in Free and Reduced Lunch programs. All of the districts have students with Limited English Proficiency (LEP), ranging from 19% at Bullitt to 2% at Oldham. Shelby is the only district with children of migrant workers, with 2% of their students in that category.

Evidence provided by the unit shows that in AY 2009-2010, 36 of 44 of the initial clinical placements were made in Jefferson County Schools, which has the most diversity among the students. In AY 2010-2011, 47 out of 50 initial placements were made in Jefferson.

Advanced candidates often (but not always) work in their own classrooms for internships and clinical experiences. Other placements for advanced candidates are made in consultation with the individual candidate, a faculty member, and the school or agency. However, evidence of systematic placement in a diverse setting was not available during the offsite visit, and it is not clear if advanced candidates are provided experiences with P12 students from different socioeconomic and/or ethnic/racial groups, English language learners, or students with disabilities.

4.1 Progress toward meeting the target level on this standard. Not applicable to this standard.

4.2 Feedback on correcting previous areas for improvement (AFIs). None

4.3 Areas of concern related to continuing to meet the standard

4.4 Evidence for the Onsite BOE Team to validate during the onsite visit

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