Addressing disproportionality in the schools -- perceived culturally competent practices at a middle school with an ethnically diverse population
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Disproportionate representation of minority students in special education is an ongoing problem at both a national and local level. One way in which school districts can address disproportionality is through the examination of culturally competent teaching practices. This study compared teacher and student perceptions of culturally competent teaching practices at a middle school with an ethnically diverse student population, to determine future need for teacher multicultural professional development. Teacher perceptions of multicultural teaching skill and knowledge were measured using the 16-item Multicultural Teaching Competency Scale (MTCS; Spanierman, et al., 2008). Multiple regression analyses were conducted to determine if teacher characteristics reported in the study (years experience and multicultural professional development within the past five years) predicted multicultural teaching skill and/or knowledge on the survey. Results indicated that a significant positive relationship existed between reported hours of professional development and MTCS Skill but not MTCS Knowledge. However, the combination of the variables years of experience and multicultural professional development did not predict either MTCS Skill or Knowledge. Student perceptions of culturally competent practices within the school were measured using the Student Survey developed by the Minneapolis Public Schools Positive School Climate Team (Minneapolis Public Schools, 2007). An independent sample T-test was conducted to determine whether eighth grade students differed in their overall perceptions of the school's cultural competence based on their race/ethnicity. Results indicated that white students responded significantly more positively than minority students suggesting that minority students may feel as though the school is less culturally competent when compared to white students. A one-way Analysis of Variance (ANOVA) was conducted to further assess on which items white students responded differently than minority students. Levene's statistic was significant for a few of the items indicating that one of the assumptions of ANOVA was violated; however, results were interpreted due to the robustness of the ANOVA. Although the nature of the differences between scores varied, white students responded more negatively on three items while minority students responded more negatively on one item. Results from this needs assessment provide implications for the use of perception data when evaluating the cultural competence of a school. The results should be interpreted with caution and combined with other data when making decisions regarding needs within a school.
Minorities -- Education (Middle school) -- Wisconsin -- Waukesha
Middle school education -- Wisconsin -- Waukesha
Cultrual competence -- Wisconsin -- Waukesha