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A Framework for Addressing Equity Gaps

A page within CATL Instructor's Guide to Inclusive Excellence

Inclusive Excellence requires us to shift our thinking about the causes of, and therefore the solutions to, equity gaps between groups of students.  The framework for this mental shift that has proven most likely to assist educators in addressing equity gaps is

  1. high belief: as an educator, you assume that all of your students can learn at a very high level, a message you send consistently, individually, and often
  2. high challenge:  you assume that the learning bars you have set for your course are both high and attainable
  3. high support: you assume that both you, both individually and collaboratively with colleagues in various university services, will provide the support necessary for every student to reach your high goals

The three are interdependent.

While the framework does not require you to believe that every student is as well-prepared in your field as every other student, it does ask you to avoid assuming that underpreparation, lack of interest, or lack of effort are the most likely causes of academic struggle, and therefore that blaming the student should be our first (and often our only) response to equity gaps.