Measuring the complexity of teachers' enactment of practice for equity
Preparing and supporting teachers to enact teaching practice that responds to diversity, challenges educational inequities, and promotes social justice is a pressing yet daunting and complex task. More research is needed to understand how and to what extent teacher education programs prepare and support teacher candidates to enhance the achievement of all learners while challenging systematic inequity (Cochran-Smith, Ell, Ludlow, Grudnoff, & Aitken, 2014). One piece of empirical evidence needed is a measure that captures the extent to which teachers enact teaching practice for equity. This study developed an instrument – the Teaching Equity Enactment Scenario Scale (TEES) - to measure the extent of equity-centered teaching practice by applying Rasch measurement theory (Rasch, 1960) and Guttman’s facet theory (Borg & Shye, 1995). The research question addressed whether the TEES scale can measure teachers’ self-reported enactment of practice for equity in a reliable, valid, and authentic manner. This study employed a three-phase design, comprising an extensive process of item development, a pilot study and a final full-scale administration. Fifteen scenario-style items were developed to capture the enactment levels of six interconnected principles of teaching practice for equity. Using the Rasch rating scale model the outcome was a 15-item TEES scale that reliably and validly measures increasing levels of teaching practice for equity progressing through low, moderate, and high levels of enactment. The distribution of the scenarios confirmed their hypothesized order and the instrument development principles of Rasch measurement - unidimensionality, variation and a hierarchical order of the items, as well as a uniform continuum defining the construct. The scale also provides meaningful interpretations of what a raw score means regarding one’s equity-centered teaching practice. The overall findings suggest that the novel approach of combining Rasch measurement and facet theory can be successful in developing a scenario-style scale that measures a complex construct. Moreover, the scale can provide the evidence needed in research on preparing and supporting teachers to teach with a commitment to equity and social justice.