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URI’s Feinstein College is Lead Institution in AACTE Consortium to Address Barriers to a Diversified Teaching Workforce

The University of Rhode Island’s Alan Shawn Feinstein College of Education and Professional Studies will represent the state as a lead institution in the American Association of Colleges for Teacher Education’s Consortium for Research-Based and Equitable Assessments, an initiative funded by the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation that engages 14 states in a study of state-level tests and qualifying scores for entry into educator preparation programs.

URI will collaborate with the Rhode Island Department of Education, Rhode Island College, Central Falls School District, and Pawtucket School Department to examine state data and practices, as well as engage in quarterly convenings to inform guidelines and recommendations for setting qualifying cores for educator preparation program entry and exit.

The consortium will take place quarterly throughout 2022 and will examine the processes and considerations that states use to determine qualifying cores, and how to refine them to attract potential teacher candidates.

“It is essential that educator preparation programs audit the barriers that detract more diverse candidates from the teaching profession,” said Danielle Dennis, interim dean of the Feinstein College. “We’re looking forward to working with colleagues across the state and nation to dismantle policies that disproportionately impact candidates of color and develop processes that instead attract those candidates to the field.”

Qualifying scores on standardized tests, initially implemented after Brown v. Board of Education (1954) to block Black educators from the profession, disproportionately exclude prospective teachers of color, even when white and non-white test-takers have similar grade-point averages.

The consortium will also investigate the decision-making process for establishing cut scores, the evaluation criteria, and barriers that discourage future teachers of color to achieve assessment success, namely examination costs, biases, and unreliable measurements.

Participants will also discuss the successes and challenges of their state’s entrance and exit requirements and consider changes to the system to diversify the teacher workforce while preparing quality teacher candidates.

The other consortium lead educator preparation programs include Cal State University San Bernardino; Wilmington University; Indiana University Bloomington; University of Louisville; University of St. Thomas; Lindenwood University; Western New Mexico University; University of North Carolina Charlotte; Ohio University; Claflin University; University of Tennessee Knoxville; Texas A&M University System; University of Wisconsin Whitewater.


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