Standard 4: Element 1

Standard Four: Diversity

The Pacific College of Education strives to ensure that all teacher candidates are prepared to work with diverse student populations that are characteristic of the state and region. The Pacific University community is one of belonging, respect and recognition of individual worth, whose members share a joint commitment to goals and to one another. The College of Education’s faculty uniformly shares a strong commitment to issues of diversity and continually strives to work toward cultural competence.

Element One: Design, Implementation, and Evaluation of Curriculum and Experiences

Communities are becoming increasingly more complex, and the classroom is where this diversity manifests itself with all of its challenges and opportunities. In courses within our programs, assignments have been designed to provide teacher candidates with the knowledge, skills, and dispositions to prepare them for the increasing diversity within our public schools. The diversity proficiencies that candidates are expected to develop during their professional program are delineated in the Conceptual Framework and embedded in courses and practica.

The College of Education at Pacific University acknowledges the demographic transformation of schools and has developed a sequence of Learning Communities as courses to provide the foundation for the preparation of candidates to work effectively in diverse environments. The first Learning Communities course explores the personal, relational and practical aspects of community building. The experience of participating in a democratic, inclusive, reflective learning community is designed to help aspiring teachers develop a rich understanding of how to meet the needs of all students and thus nurture equity and diversity. Though all COE faculty members promote meeting the needs of all learners, instructors of the Learning Communities sequence promote Culturally Responsive Teaching as a focused approach. (Culturally Responsive Teaching principles)

The goal of growing in cultural understanding is woven throughout the curriculum as candidates move toward respect for cultural pluralism. Professors and their syllabi reflect a respect for humanity in all its diversity and emphasize the need for differentiating curriculum in order to further the learning of all students.

The curriculum is designed to provide integration. Concepts from the educational psychology class in the foundations block provide the building blocks for the methods classes. The early research applications class provides candidates with the skills to do research required in the methods classes. Every candidate who completes the program for the Initial Teaching License must show evidence of their ability to integrate concepts by completing two work samples. The work sample documents are meant to integrate knowledge about teaching with evidence that P-12 students under the candidate’s care have learned. In these work samples candidates must document that they have the ability to do the following:

  1. Assess the learning context – including assessing the learning needs of all students (special needs and exceptionalities, TAG, ESOL, ethnic and socio-economic diversity, etc.) and adapting the lessons to fit students’ unique needs.
  2. Develop a unit of study (2-5 weeks) appropriate to the developmental level of the students that will help students gain the concepts, knowledge, and skills needed to meet the state content standards. In addition, the lessons developed for the unit of study must show evidence of cultural competence and appropriate use of technology.
  3. Create specific lesson plans to help the entire group of students learn while differentiating the lessons for varying levels of students, for students with a different cultural perspective, for second language students, and for a variety of learning styles.
  4. Assess and document the learning gains made by the students as a group and analyze each individual students’ learning gains.
  5. Evaluate the group and individual learning gains in order to decide what students must learn next to gain the concepts in the unit. Further, communicate those learning gains to students and parents.

Learning Communities Course

Since a number of faculty members teach the Learning Communities courses in many different programs at each of the two campuses, they meet periodically to review outcomes and alignment as well as to share results of activities, informal student evaluations, and personal reflections on the courses. Below is the mission and goals of the course as stated in the syllabi:

COURSE OUTCOMES – Learning Communities

Learning Communities facilitates the affective, behavioral, and cognitive development of candidates while expanding candidates’ knowledge, skills and dispositions. Candidates study the “Discrimination and the Oregon Educator” materials in this course sequence. As a result of participating in the Learning Communities sequence, candidates are able to:

  • Promote equity pedagogy
  • Synthesize historical, contemporary and evolving classroom and school-wide management practices, theories and models in order to maintain a classroom environment conducive to learning for all students
  • Utilize a variety of styles of communication, conflict resolution and collaboration, and increase their own personal creativity and flexibility
  • Reflect upon their personal, family, community and social lives and the influence these experiences have had upon their attitudes and values related to teaching
  • Explore the diversity of their peers in order to understand that multiple perspectives are assets and a value-added characteristic in complex learning environments
  • Understand the special challenges associated with educating culturally diverse learners from under-served populations
  • Apply culturally responsive interventions to enhance the learning environment

Many other courses reinforce similar themes, focusing on the development of cultural competency. The School and Society course, for example, includes a look at equity in schools from a historical perspective and asks students to “describe issues related to school law and ethics in their professional practices.” The Math/Science/Health Methods for ECE/Elementary Teachers includes a component on multicultural mathematics, and a focus on resources that examine the accomplishments of scientists and mathematicians from diverse ethnic, geographical and gender groups.

Cultural Competence

On May 24, 2006, the College of Education faculty adopted the following definition of Cultural Competence and agreed to attempt to model these characteristics in their own teaching:

A culturally competent teacher:
UNDERSTANDS the relationship among culture, teaching and learning.
VALUES fairness, equity and learning by all students.
APPLIES understanding and values to create instruction appropriate for all students and a learning community respectful of diversity.

The Student Teaching Handbooks include the TSPC criteria for an ethical educator and the definition of culturally competent educators. Students who are not progressing toward cultural competency are identified early in the Learning Communities sequence, or by faculty members teaching other courses, university supervisors and mentor teachers. Faculty members who identify students with issues use the Dispositions Form to specifically identify the issues, then follow the COE Dispositions Procedures. The first item on the Dispositions Form is the following:

1. Candidate is working toward Cultural Competence.
Value Statement: Has a commitment to respect humanity in all its diversity

  • Understands cultural competence and acts in accordance
  • Is cognizant of and applies relevant sections from the TSPC handbook on “Discrimination and the Oregon Educator”
  • Is deliberate in holding self, peers, and students accountable for respectful language/actions that reflect equity and fairness
  • Affirms and otherwise nurtures practices that advance equity and diversity

To date, no candidate has been found to be unsatisfactory on the disposition relating to cultural competence and diversity by any faculty during coursework. In addition, the field experience evaluation documents whether mentor teachers and university supervisors see students as aware of diversity issues and working toward cultural competence.

In addition to the Learning Communities sequence, other key classes which focus on individual student differences include Fundamentals of Educational Psychology, School and Society and the Work Sample class in which candidates develop their first ‘modified’ work sample. A key component of the work sample requires students to provide evidence of their ability to foster learning among all students. Several courses incorporate a service-learning requirement, which is ordinarily performed in a setting with demonstrated diversity.

Program Assessments

Candidates’ perception of their growth in cultural competence is demonstrated through the program assessment survey done by graduates (score 1 – Strongly Agree to 5 – Strongly Disagree). By far the majority of candidates rated their program a ‘4’ or above on each of the items; see Table 4.1.1 below.

Table 4.1.1
Candidate Evaluation of Promoting Growth in Cultural Competence in Program Assessment

Program Assessment Item:
The Teacher Education Program promoted my growth in awareness and knowledge of cultural competency.

Strongly Disagree
1

2

3

4

Strongly Agree
5

n

Survey
(FG Jun06 and Jun07)

4.1% (3)

2.7% (2)

6.8% (5)

32.9% (24)

53.4% (39)

73

Survey
(Eu Jun06 UG)

0.0% (0)

0.0% (0)

0.0% (0)

0.0% (0)

100.0% (5)

5

Survey
(Eu Dec06)

2.0% (1)

7.8% (4)

11.8% (6)

43.1% (22)

35.3% (18)

51

Survey
(FG and EU: 2005-06 n=33, 2007 n=75)

0.9% (1)

5.6% (6)

14.8% (16)

33.3% (36)

45.4% (49)

108

 

5

12

27

82

111

237

2%

5%

11%

35%

47%

100%

Work Sample Assessment

ITL candidates must demonstrate their professional and pedagogical knowledge and skills in working with diverse students by developing, teaching and analyzing two work samples. Data on the items related to diversity and to our conceptual framework follow:

Table 4.1.2
Ratings of Work Sample Items Demonstrating Professional and Pedagogical Knowledge and Skills in Working with Diverse Students*
(1 = Low; 5 = High)

Work Sample Item

MAT/5 FG 6/07
N = 56

MAT/5 Eugene 12/06
N = 46

MAT/Flex FG & Eug 12/06
N = 29

MAT/Flex FG & Eug 6/07
N = 11

UG FG & Eug 12/06
N = 6

UG FG & Eug 6/07
N = 12

I. Accommodating Individual Differences

4.71

4.90

4.88

4.91

5.00

4.88

J. Cultural Competence

4.65

4.79

4.79

4.82

4.75

4.88

K. Cross-Curricular Integration

4.72

4.87

4.88

4.86

4.75

4.71

M. Communication and Feedback

4.66

5.00

– **

4.38

M

3.98

O. Interpretation of Assessment Data for Selected Individuals

4.79

4.91

4.78

4.95

4.92

4.75

P. Evaluation of Teaching

4.88

4.93

5.00

4.91

4.67

4.71

* Each candidate completes two work samples. The ratings are an average of two work samples for each member of the cohort.

Student Teaching Assessment

ITL candidates are evaluated by their University Supervisor and Mentor Teacher during and at the end of student teaching. The items which follow are those from the Summary Evaluation which are aligned with candidates’ ability to positively impact all learners.

Table 4.1.3
Evidence of Candidates Pedagogical Content Knowledge and Ability to Positively Impact All Learners
(1 = Low; 6 = High)

Competency
The candidate employs pedagogical content knowledge and demonstrates ability to:

MAT/5 FG 6/07
N = 56

MAT/5 Eugene 12/06
N = 48

MAT/Flex FG & Eug 12/06
N = 29

MAT/Flex FG & Eug 6/07
N = 11

UG FG & Eug** 12/06
N = 6

UG FG & Eug 6/07
N = 12

1f) Design and adapt unit and lesson plans for all learners and exceptional learners, including but not limited to students with varying cultural, social, socio-economic and linguistic backgrounds;
Mentor(s)*

4.39

4.65

4.28

3.73

Met

3.82

University Supervisor

4.26

4.62

4.33

3.82

Met

3.73

2a) Affirm the dignity and worth of all students and provide the positive support students need to be effective learners.
Mentor(s)*

4.81

4.86

4.76

3.73

Met

4.27

University Supervisor

4.65

4.74

4.76

3.64

Met

4.09

2c) Employ equitable practices that are just and that support a least restrictive environment for all students;
Mentor(s)*

4.88

5.10

4.45

4.64

Met

4.36

University Supervisor

4.68

5.06

4.41

4.45

Met

4.18

2e) Use knowledge of the influence of the physical, social, and emotional climates of students’ homes and the community to optimize motivation, learning and behavior;
Mentor(s)*

4.66

4.77

4.31

4.27

Met

4.09

University Supervisor

4.48

4.69

4.22

4.00

Met

3.64

2g) Interact thoughtfully and courteously with all students and their families and seek to resolve conflicts in a professional manner, respecting familial and community cultural contexts;
Mentor(s)

4.80

5.24

4.59

4.45

Met

4.36

University Supervisor

4.61

5.14

4.41

4.40

Met

4.18

3f) Monitor the engagement of students in learning activities and the progress they are making to determine if the pace or content of instruction needs to be modified to assure that all students accomplish lesson and unit objectives;
Mentor(s)

4.49

4.85

4.21

4.18

Met

4.27

University Supervisor

4.39

4.74

4.31

3.91

Met

3.64

4a) Select or develop non-biased, valid and reliable tests, performance measures, observations, student interviews, or other formal or informal assessment procedures to determine the progress of all students;
Mentor(s)

4.44

4.56

4.34

4.18

Met

4.27

University Supervisor

4.28

4.57

4.26

4.00

Met

3.91

5e) Adapt/modify content knowledge for exceptional learners, including talented and gifted;
Mentor(s)

4.40

4.67

4.24

3.73

--------

3.77

University Supervisor

4.24

4.54

4.24

3.73

--------

3.82

6g) Collaborate with parents, colleagues and members of the community to provide internal and external assistance to students and their families to promote student learning;
Mentor(s)

--------

5.09

4.62

4.27

--------

--------

University Supervisor

--------

5.05

4.52

4.27

--------

--------

* If the candidate had more than one mentor, the ratings are averaged.
** Due to an instrument modification, candidates in this program were scored Met/Not Met.