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Cross-Cutting Theme – Diversity

EPP core values represent a deep commitment to diversity in teacher education: diversity and inclusion and social justice and leadership. These values run across recruitment, selection, and support of candidates, the curriculum and field experiences, and the partnerships in the teacher education programs. The proficiencies reflecting diversity, are woven through the content and pedagogical knowledge of the programs. The EPP’s view of social justice is that one based on learning as a socio-cultural dynamic among the diverse populations of the New York metropolitan area. The proficiencies involved in the core values highlight awareness of the ways schools may reproduce hierarchies based on race, class, gender, and sexuality.

The content and pedagogical knowledge of teacher candidates supported in the EPP curriculum and fieldwork include these two core values and are represented in the multiple sources of evidence over a three-year period (2015-18), aligned with the InTASC standards. Candidates’ knowledge of diverse learners and learning are demonstrated most directly by elements in the edTPA (see Table 1.1.2) involving planning to support varied student needs (Rubrics 2 and 3, with between 84% and 94% of candidates achieving target scores over the three years). Data from Danielson Framework (see Table 1.1.1), especially Domain 1c, which includes planning with knowledge of students’ backgrounds, knowledge and interests is strong. Over the three-year period 100% of candidates achieved target. In Domain 1f., where designing coherent instruction involves grouping of learners with diverse needs and backgrounds, between 94% and 98% of candidates achieved target in the EPP across the three years. Data from the EAS (Table 1.1.3), which focuses on instructional design for students of diverse backgrounds, English Language Learners or students with disabilities demonstrate that candidates achieved a 97-98% pass rate.

The exit survey (Table 1.1.8) includes seven questions regarding candidates’ capacity to respond to the needs of diverse learners through curriculum, instructional strategies, or more general questions about particular populations (differences by ability, gender, or language, for example). Using 80% agreement or strong agreement as the target on the survey responses, more than the target percentage was reached in all three years with questions about adapting instruction, responding to cultural differences, and understanding the social and emotional needs of diverse learners. The largest challenges reflected in these items involve teaching English Language Learners and using technology to support individual needs in the classroom (both involving percentages between 58% and 74%). 90% of candidates report using three or more methods to incorporate diversity into their lessons (e.g. readings about diverse populations and accommodations for students with exceptionalities). Percentages of candidates beyond the target of 80%, across the three years, agree or strongly agree that the faculty and their peers treat diversity with equity and fairness.

The commitment to diversity includes the EPP’s placement of teacher candidates in diverse settings. Table 2.3.1 demonstrates the diversity of placements as reflected in New York State’s definition of diverse schools, used for the field placements. By EPP policy, teacher candidates are to be placed in at least one school placement that is in a diverse school prior to program completion.

With regard to the recruitment, admission, enrollment and monitoring of the progress of diverse teacher candidates, the EPP has created a marketing strategy with the University’s offices of Admissions and Communications to increase diversity in admissions. Tables 3.1.1, 3.1.2, 3.1.3, and 3.1.4 breaks down the diversity of applicants, accepted and enrolled candidates by area, gender, nationality, and language background. Admissions includes outreach to communities and organizations that serve underrepresented populations. In addition, the EPP seeks to build a diverse population of teacher education candidates through its grant-seeking initiatives with diverse school districts. In 2017, the EPP had the market analysis conducted by an outside consulting group that identified programs and locations for employment needs. No small part of this effort is to reach districts with high needs communities, including New York City.

EPP alumni are surveyed for program impact in their professional careers, including learning about and having field experience with diverse populations. In addition, they are contacted for their employment, including tenure and promotion (Table 4.3.2). The data demonstrate that over half of completers are employed in New York City schools perhaps the most diverse public school district in the U.S. In the Pilot Alumni Survey (4.4.2) 82% of those who responded reported they are working in diverse classrooms; 73% support the learning of special needs students and 62% work with English Language Learners. Many commented that additional experience with diverse populations would be important for the EPP. Employers were also surveyed (4.3.1) in spring 2018 and 24% (13 of 55) returned the completed responses. Of the initial questions, two addressed diverse populations in terms of differentiation of instruction and treating all students fairly and with respect. The EPP alumni were given proficient or distinguished ratings by 100% of those responding to the employer survey.

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