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Acting on Equity Gaps


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Title: Acting on Equity Gaps

Acting on Equity Gaps
  • Rebecca Martin
  • Senior Vice President
  • University of Wisconsin System
  • July 30, 2007

Overview of Presentation
  • What Is The Equity Scorecard?
  • What Is Equity?
  • Why Now?
  • How It Works
  • The UW System Pilot

  • The Diversity Scorecard is a tool and a process
    to help campuses assess their effectiveness in
    providing historically underrepresented students
    with the credentials they will need to gain
    economic, social, and political power.
  • Estela Mara Bensimon
  • Center for Urban Education
  • University of Southern California


What Is The Equity Scorecard?
  • A comprehensive campus-based strategy for
    assessing and improving institutional
  • A holistic and systematic strategy that
    spotlights and prioritizes racial/ethnic
    inequities for action planning
  • Provides a solid base of information for closing
    the access and achievement gaps

It Is Not
  • A mandate
  • A report card
  • A uniformity driven assessment model
  • A replacement for existing assessment and
    evaluation efforts

Core Principle of The Equity Scorecard
  • Evidence, i.e., factual data about
    inequities in educational outcomes access,
    enrollments, retention, excellence,
    graduationcan have a powerful effect upon
    faculty members, administrators, counselors, and
    others and their motivation to solve them.
  • Estela Mara Bensimon

What Is Equity?
  • Equity is achieved when students of color
    succeed in any variety of measures relative to
    their representation (including access and
    excellence) on campus.
  • Why Equity Matters Implications for a
  • Diversity Scorecard Project, Center for Urban
  • University of Southern California

Why Now? In Order To
  • Address educational outcomes stratified by race
    and income
  • Reap the benefits of increasing economic returns
  • Equip all students for a knowledge-based economy
  • Foster social, political, and economic stability
    of our state and the country
  • Eliminate educational inequities
  • Increase institutional accountability

The Accountability Side of Diversity
  • These are evidence based practices that will
    make individuals more conscious of the state of
    educational outcomes for historically underserved
    students and will enable them to act
  • Estela Mara Bensimon
  • The Accountability Side of Diversity

How It Works
  • Awareness Engage in institutional
    self-assessment to provide a clear and
    unambiguous picture of inequities
  • Interpretation Analyze and integrate the
    meaning of the inequities
  • Action Develop strategic actions to achieve
    equity in educational outcomes based on data, not

It is said, What gets measured gets
noticed.Team members were skeptical at first.
The act of breaking data down by race and
ethnicity has provided many aha moments.
Estela Mara Bensimon
When Data Speak
  • Through the simple act of disaggregating existing
  • data, institutions are able to locate the most
  • gaps in the academic performances of students of
  • color and other underrepresented students.

The Equity Scorecard
The Process
  • Create campus evidence teams
  • Analyze existing data through the four
  • Develop Scorecard
  • Share results

Access Indicators
  • In what programs and majors are underrepresented
    students enrolled?
  • Do underrepresented students have access to
    important career enhancing academic programs like
    internships or fellowships?
  • What access do underrepresented students have to
    financial support?
  • What access do underrepresented students, at
    four-year colleges, have to graduate and
    professional schools?

Retention Indicators
  • What are the comparative retention rates for
    underrepresented students by program?
  • Do underrepresented students disproportionately
    withdraw from hot programs like engineering or
    computer sciences?
  • How successful are underrepresented students in
    completing basic skills courses?

Institutional Receptivity Indicators
  • How well is our postsecondary education system
    serving the needs of students of color?
  • Do educational outcomes for students of color in
    specific areas reveal an equity gap?
  • Does the composition of the faculty enhance
    diversity, and correspond to the racial and
    ethnic composition of the student body?

Excellence Indicators
  • Access
  • Which majors or courses function as gatekeepers
    for some students and gateways for others?
  • Why are African American students concentrated in
    certain majors, such as education, social work,
  • Achievement
  • What are the comparative completion rates in
    highly competitive programs?
  • What is the pool of high-achieving
    under-represented students eligible for graduate

The UW System Pilot
  • One effort in the larger context of system-wide
    diversity planning
  • Established focus on closing the achievement gap
    between students of color and their white peers
  • Process for institutional assessment,
    accountability and organizational change
  • Partnership with the Center for Urban Education

System Context
  • Two decades of system-wide plans for diversity
  • Commitment to accountability, achieving
  • Specific linkage to goals in system and campus

Pilot Campuses
  • One research university
  • Four comprehensive universities
  • System of thirteen two-year colleges
  • Range in size, student demographics, other
    institutional characteristics
  • Differences in team characteristics and

Key Factors
  • Commitment to equity and student success
  • Diversity as a campus-wide priority
  • Leadership support
  • Institutional research capacity
  • Willingness to confront difficult questions
  • Openness to organizational and systemic change

Difficult Findings
  • The achievement gap, in all its forms
  • Deficiencies in admissions outcomes
  • Drop/Failure/Withdrawal rates in key courses
  • Lack of support for certain students and groups
    of students

  • Potential interventions based on better
    understanding of the real problems
  • Shift in campus culture
  • Infusion of data-driven approach and sense of
    institutional responsibility across campus
  • Focus campus agenda on addressing student success
  • Link to strategic initiatives, resource
    decisions, faculty interests

  • An undertaking with high stakes and high rewards
  • Painful process for the team, the leadership, and
    the campus
  • Institutional self-knowledge leading to
    meaningful change

  • We must deliberately and energetically remove
    the conditions that deny or impede equitable
    outcomes for all students. The Diversity
    Scorecard is a tool and a process to help
    campuses assess their effectiveness in providing
    historically underrepresented students with the
    credentials they will need to gain economic,
    social, and political power.
  • Estela Mara Bensimon, The Diversity Scorecard
    A Learning Approach to Institutional Change,
    Change Magazine (January/February 2004).

  • UW System Equity Scorecard Website
  • Center for Urban Education Websitehttp//www.usc.