Date of Award


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy


Public Affairs and Administration

First Advisor

Dr. Barbara S. Liggett

Second Advisor

Dr. Robert A. Peters

Third Advisor

Dr. Maureen Steen


In 1949, W.E.B. DuBois noted, "Of all the rights for which the world has struggled and fought for 5,000 years, the right to learn is undoubtedly the most fundamental (Foner, 1970, pp. 230-231)." Yet, inequity, so deeply embedded in the United States public education system, severely inhibits the free exercise of this right by many. Teachers struggle to teach, and students struggle to learn. Preparing pre-service teachers for diversity in pre-kindergarten through 12th grade (PK-12) classrooms throughout the United States is becoming increasingly urgent based on demographic trends--students will progressively become more diverse as they represent different races, ethnicities, cultures, socio-economic backgrounds, and bring differences in language, linguistics, and abilities to the fore. At the same time, the pipeline for teacher candidates will remain predominantly white, middle-class, and female. In an era of increasing accountability, means and methods to ensure the efficacy of teacher preparation programs in addressing the diversity in PK-12 classrooms are critical to growth, change, and improvement. Proactive, systematic internal evaluation of the impact of diversity preparation on pre-service teacher candidates for PK-12 classrooms can assist in the design and delivery of more effective programs. Neither a comprehensive model for integrating the elements requisite to the appropriate preparation for diversity into the development and implementation of teacher preparation programs, nor a correspondent tool to evaluate institutional performance appears to exist. Employing a mixed-methods design, this study determined the key components of program design and delivery that enhance preparation for diversity. It also noted critical internal and external supports for and constraints on pre-service candidates' ability to actively apply what they learn. As a result, a predictive model and correspondent evaluation guide for determining the incorporated level of preparation for the increasing diversity in PK-12 classrooms was developed and validated through a baseline evaluation of an existing pre-service teacher preparation program for elementary certification. This adaptable, outcomes-based evaluation tool may serve as a critical component of effective reform in teacher preparation program.

Access Setting

Dissertation-Open Access