Lindenwood University’s Plans to Ensure Equitable Access for All Future Teachers
AACTE’s Consortium for Research-Based and Equitable Assessments (CREA) project recently released a framing paper titled The History, Current Use, and Impact of Entrance and Licensure Examinations Cut Scores on the Teacher-of-Color Pipeline: A Structural Racism Analysis. The paper addressed the following questions: (1) How are standardized entrance and licensure tests being used as a gateway into the profession? (2) Who determines cut scores for these tests? and (3) What is the historical significance and implications of these tests on the diversity of the profession today?
Lindenwood University represents one of fourteen lead institutions that comprise the CREA project. Tammy Moore, director of certification and field/clinical experiences at Lindenwood, reflects on the effects of entrance assessment requirements at her institution and her institution’s plans to ensure equitable access for all students who choose to pursue teacher education.
Why did Lindenwood University pursue membership in the CREA project?
Lindenwood University – College of Education and Human Services (COEHS) pursued the CREA project to participate in an initiative designed to support our continual efforts to recruit and retain teacher candidates of color. In direct alignment with Lindenwood COEHS commitment to “… an open, diverse, and inclusive learning environment that nurtures the growth and development of all …” the CREA project embodies our commitment to diversifying the teaching profession.
How has entrance and/or retention requirements into your teacher preparation program impacted student enrollment?
Similar to other educator preparation programs across the nation, our teacher education programs experienced a decline in enrollment. We have experienced a drop in persistence and retention of teacher candidates of color because of the state qualifying scores on state entrance and exit exams, GPA requirements, and the many outside costs associated with completion of an educator preparation program. As the director of certification and field/clinical experiences, I have been in this role for 8 years and see trends with our teacher candidates of color who fear the assessments. One teacher candidate who failed one of the Missouri Content Assessments (MOCA), shared with me that they could not afford to retake the test because it was not financially feasible.
What institutional supports does Lindenwood offer to assist candidates with passing assessments required for program entry and/or retention?
- Developed a center specific to our teacher candidates called the The Academic, Retention, and Certification Center
- One-on-one supports from our faculty specific to certification content areas
- Workshops for teacher candidates that include testing taking strategies
- Purchased study material from the testing company that is free to our teacher candidates
- Provide voucher codes to teacher candidates that reduce the cost of the assessments
- Developed Professional Learning Communities for teacher candidates in similar content areas for teacher certification
- Recent Teacher Education Grant approval from the SEA: This grant provided funding to all EPPs based on program size. From this grant, COEHS developed the Academy for the Preparation of Diverse Educators, where we will have funding to further support the recruitment, persistence/retention of candidates of color
How do you plan to use the knowledge and resources gained from the project to further your efforts to promote recruitment, retention, and preparation of more diverse teacher candidates?
The project provides a platform for other state EPPs, SEAs, and LEAs to convene, learn, and share information—during these convenings it was discovered that there was no specific method to how EPPs established cut scores for the assessments. We plan to revisit how we established cut scores and ensure the decisions are made based on data and research, further develop and cultivate partnerships with our LEAs and SEA and expand financial supports for our teacher candidates of color.