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To What Extent Are Ethnic Minority Teacher Candidates Adversely Affected by High-stakes Assessments?

While it was acknowledged as an issue approximately three decades ago, the discussions around shortages in the educator workforce have increased in recent years, causing a great deal of alarm about the nation’s capacity to provide quality educators for its students. A related concern is the lack of teachers of color, relative to an increasingly diverse student population.
Published: 07/08/2021

According to the Center for American Progress, disparities in the pipeline of teachers of color begin prior to college enrollment, as approximately 18 percent of Education majors are of color. The enrollment rate of education majors is well below the overall enrollment rate for undergraduate students of color, which was approximately 43 percent in 2014. The dearth of eventual teacher candidates of color is further exacerbated by several factors, including lower completion rates in higher education programs. While teacher candidates of color are more likely to encounter barriers to college graduation, an additional contributor to the gap in number of teachers of color may be disparities in pass rates for licensure examinations. Specifically, teacher candidates of color, on average, have lower scale scores on most national and state-level assessments used as gateways to the classroom.

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