Teacher efficacy is usually a simple idea but with significant implications. According to Richardson (2011), teacher efficacy normally examines the various factors that contribute to teacher’s confidence in successfully achieving his or her goals as related to classroom instructions. It also examines teacher’s confidence in enhancing reflective teaching, motivating students, engaging students, and more so his/her ability in engaging other stakeholders in the educational process. In essence, teacher’s efficacy is a judgmental belief that demonstrates teacher’s capabilities of bringing about desired outcomes of not only engaging students but also those of learning and teaching, as well (Richardson, 2011). This requires advance self efficacy on the part of the teacher in enhancing educational process even among students who may be either difficult or unmotivated through the process.
Lack of teacher efficacy in an affluent district, in America, has affected the achievements of African American males. In his research study, Richardson (2011) points out that there has been an increase in the number of high school dropouts among African American male students. Understanding the reasons for this increased dropout that creates achievement gap between African American males and their white peers can best be captured by addressing key concerns, related to the level of educational success of African American males. It requires answering questions concerning what contribute to such widening gap in educational achievement, the kind of responsibility of any African American teacher in motivating and shaping these students’ ability to succeed successfully in school, the kind of roles that parents of African American male students can play in ensuring that they stay in school and become academically successful.
However, tackling the above questions amounts into exploring one question: What effect does the teacher efficacy have on the academic achievement of Africa American male students? According to Richardson (2011), most of the affluent district schools are deteriorating and staffed with teachers who find it difficult in teaching in that environment. This is largely contributed by classroom disruptions, absenteeism, and most importantly, failure by African American male students to do assignment in a timely fashion (Richardson, 2011). African American students, especially the males, are usually recipients of stereotypes, discrimination, and social slander. This can affect the manner in which they feel about themselves and significantly, how they do academically.
Additionally, many of the African American male students in affluent district schools are normally depicted as struggling at school. This is evident as they are ranked lower on standardized test (Richardson, 2011). They also form the larger recipient of discipline referrals than any other ethnic group. While dropout and discipline referrals are eminent among African American male students, it is imperative to note that many of such students under these difficult circumstances have done very well in school. These resilient African American male students have not only attended school regularly but have become focused learners. This has enabled them to achieve more in the educational process. Their sense of goal-oriented and focus-driven have highly been motivated and influenced by their respective parents. More so, they have also been encouraged by teachers who instill in them the importance of having education.
Therefore, making African American male students become resilient students requires a social change especially in the assessment program. This is the context in which this study is directed.
Proposed Social Change Project, “Culturally Sensitive Assessment Program”
The aim of this project is to consider what research does say about efficacious teachers in affluent districts, and explore what pedagogical relationship influence they do have on African American male students. This is to help defeat the achievement gap between African American male students and their white counterparts. Among the studied research, efficacious teachers especially in affluent district schools have been outlined as prone to the temptation of using various teaching strategies with the struggling African American male students (Richardson, 2011). This has been contributed by their belief that their own self-efficacy is associated with positive teaching behavior and student outcomes. Contrary to this, these teachers have been depicted as less critical to students especially when they make mistakes. These teachers have also been established, as more likely to implement positive classroom management strategies only for enhancing positive outlook while teaching but not assessing these difficult students (Richardson, 2011). In so doing, they do not initiate quick transfer of students who require special education.
The above findings denote lack of teacher efficacy as could amount to greater implications for the struggling African American students in affluent district schools. This could affect not only how they learn, but the quality of the very teachers from whom they are able to achieve academic success. According to Richardson (2011), efficacious teachers have the capability of changing African American male students’ attitudes towards schooling. Therefore, increasing their students’ motivational process to learn through engaging cultural sensitive assessment program would enable them boost the academic achievement of these students even in this difficult kind of classroom setting.
Furthermore, school attendance problems associated with African American male students as outlined above can as well be addressed through enhancing this culturally sensitive programs. It has been evidently projected through research that students regularly attend school when they enjoy the learning process (Naglieri, 2010). In a study conducted by New Orleans Board of Education in 1993, school attendance was found to be positively correlated with test results while the number of students suspended or expelled were negatively related (McGee, 1997). This has long-term implications. It means that, in case, African American male students attend and stay in school as required, effective learning will take place and more significantly, test score will increase considerably. This, in turn, will ultimately amount to more African American male students not only graduating from high school, but also attending college institution thereby increasing their opportunity for new experiences. In so doing, they are able to gain economic quality of life which is better than those experienced by their parents.
Evaluating on the Culturally Sensitive Assessment Project
According to Popham (2010), educational assessment is a key principle in education as it enhances teacher’s instructional effectiveness in teaching and learning. It is an effective tool that assists educational leaders in knowing the validity and effectiveness of their work. Therefore, evaluating on such a social change program in education is important in understanding the level to which educational assessment is essential in enhancing teacher’s instructional process in the classroom. As the author points out, the purpose of evaluating educational assessment program is to provide practical and useful information to both school administrators and classroom teachers. This enables them in understanding and addressing the difficulties experienced by African American male students which are widely contributed to by educational assessment programs.
As Popham (2010) points out, evaluation or assessment is accurately employed by educators in focusing on how to determine the effectiveness of teaching and learning instructions in the classroom setting. By this, he notes that evaluating or assessing students during instruction allows both educational leaders and classroom teachers to determine whether to make any change in the current or upcoming instructional teaching and learning processes. Additionally, classroom-assessment evidences, especially those collected from affluent district institutions can be used in improving teacher’s instructional decision making process.
However, the validity of this evaluation with social change in education comes from the proposition of the social change project as a way of addressing assessment biasness that affects African American male students’ educational achievement. Based on Popham’s (2010) notion, the existing assessment bias has heavily affected the educational achievement of African American male students. According to him, assessment bias refers to “the qualities of a test that offend or unfairly penalize test-taker because of those test-takers’ personal qualities such as gender, race, ethnicity, religion or similar group-defining characteristics,” (p.59). Coming from one of the most discriminated ethnic groups in America, African American male students on this part are unfairly given test that demean their personality and educational outcomes.
For instance, a test item implies that African American men are incapable of attaining high political office in America; it offends any male student from the related ethnic group in taking such a test. In case, an item offends a particular student, his performance on the subsequent test is adversely affected (Popham, 2010). Therefore, it is only through evaluating the social change program that judgmental and empirical bias-detection techniques can be determine and used in improving the educational achievement of African American students.
Determining and Prioritizing Needs
Determining the specific teacher efficacy needs towards African American male students would include participation of teachers who were selected from those, who had completed a self-efficacy survey. This will be done on a voluntary basis, and teachers will be guaranteed anonymity through withholding their real names from the study conducted. In this aspect, pseudonyms will be used in representing each participant teacher. In ensuring that ethical research standards are adhered to, each teacher will sign the letter of informed consent that will indicate their understanding of the intended interview, audio-taped, and more significantly observed in their respective classrooms. The data will be purposely collected from the content on interviews, audiotapes, and field notes. Additionally, all participants will be notified of their rights to withdraw from the study as they wish and for any reason without being penalized.
On the other hand, prioritizing the needs of African American male students requires effective selection of assessment committee. This committee is essential since it offers advisory opinion based on research conducted that helps in setting direction for the education work in the assessment of student learning and teaching. This would include, appointing seven members through the development of applications that demonstrate each member’s eligibility to carry out assessment. The committee should ensure interactive open end meeting and discussions with affluent district school principles, teachers, African American male students and their respective parents.
Cultural and Ethical Concerns of the Program
The validity, biasness, and sensitivity of the proposed project can well be addressed through controlling researcher biasness emanating from cultural and ethical concerns. This project can be valid if a researcher adheres to the rules of triangulation of data. By this, it means that data that will be gained from the coded interviews, observations, and field notes do form the basis of the story. This opens objectivity of understanding the topic of teacher efficacy by allowing the third party to look at the findings not only from an objective view, but from a non-bias point of view, as well. In so doing, an assessor becomes cognitive especially by not allowing sensitive racial and cultural traditional education issues to filter into the study simply because the researcher is either Black or White.
Additionally, the under-representation of African-American faculty in public higher education is an ethical dilemma that can impact negatively on the project. According to Richardson (2011), Black faculty education is essential in facilitating the academic preparation and success of all student especially African American students. He notes that the method of increasing this faculty representation has usually been relegated by placing affirmative action on hiring committees and diversification the hiring committee. Through this culture, any social change project such as this would include members who would not be able effectively to assess lack of teacher efficacy in affluent district schools. This, in turn, affects this project that is incorporated to enhance educational achievement for male African American.
Driving Factors and Stakeholders
The key driving factors of this program are result-based accountability and continuous quality improvement of teacher efficacy in affluent district schools while all aim at improving students’ assessment, in order to reduce achievement gaps. According to Chinman, Imm & Wanderson (2004), having a culturally sensitive program and personnel help in promoting accountability not only for planning and implementing, but also in evaluation, as well. This means that this project presents an effective tool for demonstrating to key stakeholders that it works and uses its resources effectively, in order to achieve and sustain the projected goals and outcomes.
Additionally, the project is driven by the need to choose teacher’s instructional program that fits the capacity, the planning, the process itself, and more significantly, the outcome of the evaluation. This as McGee (1997) points out requires enough funding by the state in ensuring that African American male students are able to attend schools from their poor economic ground in order to access the administered state tests. In so doing, the various factors that are associated with lack of teacher efficacy in affluent district schools will be addressed in improving the quality of assessment and educational achievement of African American male students.
In conclusion, efficacy of teachers is an essential component in improving the educational achievement of African American male students. However, lack of teacher efficacy in affluent district schools has been contributed by the incorporation of assessment programs that are not only accountable, but lack validity, as well. It is, therefore, imperative for all stakeholders such as education ministries, school leaders, and classroom teachers to ensure that various measures needed in coming up with assessment projects that are culturally sensitive are in place. This would help realizing effective assessment and improvement of the educational outcome among the African-American male students.