⒈ Comprehensive Cultural Assessment Components

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Comprehensive Cultural Assessment Components

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Schools must create healthy learning communities that are physically, emotionally, and intellectually safe and secure for all school community members CSBE, To educate, engage and meet the needs of diverse students, local school districts must incorporate beliefs and implement practices that foster understanding and respect for diverse cultures. According to Messina , in providing all youth with relevant sexual health education, school districts must focus on many different dimensions of diversity: 1 racial and ethnic; 2 socioeconomic; 3 sexual orientation and gender identity; and 4 special education needs.

To educate and engage diverse students in a competent manner, teachers must continually strive to be culturally competent. A culturally competent program values diversity, conducts self-assessment, addresses issues that arise when different cultures interact, acquires and institutionalizes cultural knowledge, and adapts to the cultures of the individuals and communities served. This may mean providing an environment in which youth from diverse cultural and ethnic backgrounds feel comfortable discussing culturally derived health beliefs and sharing their cultural practices. In fact, after determining the extent of the problem in urban, suburban, and rural areas of the state, the Connecticut Health Foundation selected eliminating racial and ethnic health disparities as one of its three program priorities CT Health Foundation, School sexual health educators must teach with full recognition that there are young people of every sexual orientation and gender identity in their classrooms.

Therefore, it is important for sexual health educators to create an atmosphere in the classroom that demands respect for all students, has zero tolerance for put downs or hate speech directed to any youth, and creates safe school environments for all youth to participate fully in program activities and be integrated with required school-climate improvement plans. Teaching about sexual orientation — including heterosexuality as well as homosexuality and bisexuality — can only serve to benefit students of all orientations by debunking myths, by breaking gender-role stereotypes that are often behind homophobic beliefs, and by providing factual information alongside every other sexuality-related topic that is addressed in a sexuality education program Macgillivray, Sexual orientation and gender identity and expression should be a component of sexual health education and be included in a developmentally appropriate fashion as specified in Section 3 of these CT Guidelines.

In Connecticut, the term special education refers to conditions including autism, visual and hearing impairments, physical and orthopedic disabilities, intellectual and specific learning disabilities, emotional disturbances, speech or language impairments, traumatic brain injuries, and many other health impairments CSDE, Bureau of Special Education, , p. This diverse group of students has very specific learning needs that must be considered when delivering any curriculum or program content, including sexual health education.

The American School Health Association ASHA has adopted a resolution that supports the implementation of sexual health education for students with disabilities or other special needs. This resolution, Quality Sexuality Education for Students with Disabilities or Other Special Needs, also highlights vital components that ensure sexual health education is effectively delivered to those with disabilities or other special needs ASHA, Additionally, according to Maurer , providing quality, sexual health education has many benefits for all people, and is particularly beneficial for children and youth who have developmental disabilities. The positive effects go beyond basic understanding of sexuality topics themselves and are included in the table below.

Sexual health education should be delivered through a variety of engaging and active teaching methodologies, including, but not limited to, small group discussions, brainstorming, role-playing for skill practice, and use of drama and literature. Because there are many individual, family, and cultural attitudes and beliefs related to human sexuality, students benefit from opportunities to reflect on what they are learning individually in journals, in small and large group discussions, and with their parents or guardians through homework assignments.

Students need opportunities to personalize what they are learning in class and consider how it applies to them in their own lives. These strategies, listed below, were developed by Marzano, et al. Effective Teaching Strategies include:. Research shows that programs that focus on reducing sexual risk-taking behaviors and preventing HIV can be effective in delaying young people engaging in sexual intercourse Kirby When choosing a program, school districts should ensure that the program selection is based on identified community needs and implemented with fidelity to achieve the desired outcome. Fidelity is the extent to which a curriculum or program is delivered in accordance with the intended design.

Evaluation of any program includes three types of activities: 1 identifying what needs to happen formative evaluation ; 2 examining whether and how well educational activities are being carried out process evaluation ; and 3 demonstrating effectiveness summative or outcome evaluation CSDE, CSH Guidelines, , p. As a component of comprehensive school health education, Fetro states that sexual health education should be evaluated systematically to determine:. For schools, evaluating behavior change outcome evaluation is the most challenging. These questions cannot be answered without baseline data such as the informational data obtained in a needs assessment. Conducting outcome evaluations can require special skills, primarily because it is difficult to determine whether improved outcomes can be attributed to the program or other factors in the community, such as a media campaign.

The YRBS asks students a number of questions about sexual behavior and allows state departments of education and local education agencies typically larger cities to compare the status of adolescent health nationally. The Connecticut School Health Survey is one source of data, and it is recommended that local districts examine multiple sources of data to determine health-risk behavioral trends in youth and adolescents that will inform their school health policies and programs teen birth rates, STD rates, school dropout, access to reproductive health care. In summary, the CSDE has outlined eight key policy recommendations to support implementation of comprehensive school health education. Similar policies that support the fundamental principles stated above should be established for a sexual health education program.

Connecticut State Department of Education. According to SIECUS Guidelines for Comprehensive Sexuality Education , sexual health education has four main goals: to provide accurate information about human sexuality; to provide an opportunity for young people to develop and understand their values, attitudes, and insights about sexuality; to help young people develop relationships and interpersonal skills; and to help young people exercise responsibility regarding sexual relationships, including addressing abstinence, pressures to become prematurely involved in sexual intercourse, and a use of contraception and other sexual health measures.

These three categories are identified below: Curricula development—involvement of multiple and varied experts, administering a needs assessment to target group, design consistent with community values and resources, use of a logic model approach and adoption of a pilot-testing phase. Implementation of curricula—administrative support of programs, professional development and ongoing support provided for teachers, recruitment of youth, and implementation of curricula with reasonable fidelity. Developmentally Appropriate An inherent principle of sexual health education is that it must be designed and implemented in a developmentally appropriate fashion. Research by Crooks and Baur, ; Pierno, ; K, Kelly, ; and Society of Obstetricians and Gynecologists of Canada, , indicates that children grow and develop in many different ways to become healthy and well-functioning adults, including: Physically.

Their bodies grow in height and weight, and during puberty their bodies mature from that of a child to that of an adult who is capable of reproducing. Psychological, Social and Emotional. They learn how to be in relationships family, friendships, work, and romantic with other people; how to recognize, understand, and manage emotions; who they are and establish an identity; and that self-concept evolves over time.

In response to parental, peer, community, and societal norms, children learn to distinguish right from wrong, and over time, to formulate their own system of moral values. Revised in , the SIECUS Guidelines outline six key concept areas that represent the most general knowledge about human sexuality and family living: human development; relationships; personal skills; sexual behavior; sexual health; and society and culture.

Community involvement and input can provide the school sexual health education program with: an atmosphere of inclusion rather than exclusion; diverse perspectives; a base of parent and community support for the program; and additional expertise, support, and resources. Comprehensive School Health Education Program The CSDE Guidelines for a Coordinated Approach to School Health defines comprehensive school health education as a sequence of learning experiences that enable children and youth to become healthy, effective and productive citizens. Comprehensive school health education includes an array of topics such as CDC, : personal, family, community, consumer and environmental health; sexual health education; mental and emotional health; injury prevention and safety; nutrition; prevention and control of disease; and alcohol, tobacco and other drugs.

Well-Trained Teachers Best practices in sexual health education focus on the importance of the role of teachers and ensuring that they are well trained. This preparation includes a strong and comprehensive teacher pre-service program, coupled with ongoing professional development that increases knowledge, skills, and comfort level in the following areas: scientific and medically accurate information about human sexuality topics; comfort with the topic; cultural competence and the ability to communicate in an inclusive fashion; effective facilitation skills; creating a comfortable and safe learning environment for all students; using a variety of engaging teaching methods; and modeling universal and specific program values while not imposing their personal values related to sexuality issues SIECUS, Guidelines, Elementary classroom teachers may provide a part of health education instruction, but a certified teacher in health education must also provide a portion including ongoing: direct instruction; collaboration with classroom teachers; and curriculum development.

A Focus on All Youth Schools must create healthy learning communities that are physically, emotionally, and intellectually safe and secure for all school community members CSBE, Sexual Orientation and Gender Identity School sexual health educators must teach with full recognition that there are young people of every sexual orientation and gender identity in their classrooms. Current terms for sexual orientation include gay, lesbian, bisexual, heterosexual and others. Gender can be understood to have several components, including gender identity, gender expression and gender role. Most people develop a gender identity that corresponds to their biological sex, but some do not.

Benefits of Sexual Health Education for Students with Developmental Disabilities Maurer Self Esteem and Empowerment—Physical development and the accompanying feelings provide the sense of being a part of a larger group that shares the same issues. The realization of this fact can be very empowering for youth who are constantly viewed as different. In fact, the tangible physical changes and feelings that children and youth observe and experience may be one of the few instances in which they feel truly equal to nondisabled classmates.

Skill Building—Sexuality education provides information and opportunity to practice skills that assist youth in recognizing and responding to social and sexual situations appropriately. Improved Communication—Youth learn to communicate without guilt or embarrassment when sexuality education provides the foundation of anatomically accurate vocabulary. When equipped with the proper terminology, youth can also describe questions, symptoms, and concerns more accurately to caregivers or healthcare providers. Setting the Stage—Accurate, age-appropriate and developmentally appropriate sexuality education sets the stage for future topics and discussions.

A framework of basic information makes topics that are more advanced easier to understand. Articulating Goals—Discussions about sexuality and social skills assist youth in envisioning their future. Young people may underestimate their capabilities without these discussions. Making concrete plans toward realistic goals is easier when youth have had many opportunities for these discussions. Preventing Negative Outcomes—Sexuality education provides youth with information and skills to recognize and prevent sexual abuse. It also provides a framework to understand and avoid behaviors that are socially inappropriate or illegal. Teaching Methods Sexual health education should be delivered through a variety of engaging and active teaching methodologies, including, but not limited to, small group discussions, brainstorming, role-playing for skill practice, and use of drama and literature.

At the classroom level, teachers must: create a healthy and safe learning environment by involving students in establishing group norms, modeling and enforcing those norms, demonstrating comfort with the topic, showing care, concern and being nonjudgmental; address the needs of all students by being open and attuned to questions, providing opportunities for students to ask questions anonymously, answering questions factually, with medical accuracy and in a developmentally appropriate fashion, referring students to health or guidance services as appropriate, and following state law and district policies regarding disclosures of sexual abuse or intimate partner violence. Effective Teaching Strategies include: identifying similarities and differences; summarizing and note taking; reinforcing effort and providing recognition; homework; nonlinguistic representations; cooperative learning; setting objectives and providing feedback; generating and testing hypotheses; and cues, questions, and advance organizers.

Program Evaluation Evaluation of any program includes three types of activities: 1 identifying what needs to happen formative evaluation ; 2 examining whether and how well educational activities are being carried out process evaluation ; and 3 demonstrating effectiveness summative or outcome evaluation CSDE, CSH Guidelines, , p. Schedule ongoing, systematic curriculum review process, preferably every three to five years, to update medical and scientific accuracy and program effectiveness.

Conduct ongoing grade-level formative assessments. What is required by the State Department of Education or local school board? What specific sexual health education curriculum has been chosen for the program? If an evidence-based curriculum was chosen, is it being implemented with fidelity? Process Evaluation Monitor the program to determine implementation and program delivery. Analyze course enrollment e. Assess teacher competency. Ask the following questions: Is sexual health education consistently offered across the grade levels and the district? What are the gaps or overlaps? What topics are being covered in each grade level? Is there adequate time and are there adequate materials and supplies provided for the delivery of sexual health education?

Are information and materials up-to-date, developmentally appropriate, and medically and scientifically accurate? What recommendations do health education teachers and classroom teachers have for improvement in curriculum, classroom instruction and student assessment? What recommendations do students have for program improvement? What is the comfort level of the health education teachers and classroom teachers delivering the curricula?

Are the health education teachers and classroom teachers effective and highly qualified? Is sufficient professional development in sexual health education offered to teachers, administrators, and health and mental health professionals? In addition to professional development training, what support is provided for health education teachers and classroom teachers? How can implementation of sexual health education programs be improved?

Outcome evaluation Conduct ongoing, developmentally appropriate grade-level summative or outcome assessments. Conduct in-depth interviews with school staff and focus groups with students and teachers to identify their perceptions of the impact of the program. Examine multiple sources of data to inform curriculum content, skill focus and program delivery e. Ask the following questions: Is the sexual health education program meeting its objectives? How effective is the program at each grade level? What are the specific effects or outcomes of the program? How do teachers and other school personnel think the program has affected students? How do students think the program has affected them? Policy Recommendations In summary, the CSDE has outlined eight key policy recommendations to support implementation of comprehensive school health education.

Sexual health education should be taught by certified, highly qualified, effective teachers. Curriculum guidelines. The district should have guidelines for the development, review and adoption of curriculum. Standards-based program. Sexual health education should be offered as part of a planned, ongoing, systematic, sequential, and standards-based school health education program. Standards represent an articulation of what a student should know and be able to do CSDE, Sufficient time and resources. The district should allocate sufficient time and resources for effective instruction. Based on research and best practice, the CSDE highly recommends that at a minimum, students in prekindergarten—Grade 4 receive a minimum of 50 classroom hours in health education per academic year and students in Grades receive a minimum of 80 hours in health education per academic year CSDE, CSH Guidelines, Within those allotted times it is recommended that 12 or more class sessions be dedicated to sexual health education in order to achieve longer-term impacts Kirby et al.

Attention to diverse learning needs. Sexual health education should offer multidisciplinary, multicultural perspectives and provide learning opportunities for multiple learning styles, including instruction and classroom materials that address the needs of all children and youth. Ongoing professional development. The district should provide ongoing, timely professional development related to sexual health education for teachers, program administrators, and school health and mental health providers. Alignment of curriculum, instruction and assessment. Sexual health education curriculum, instruction and assessment should be aligned.

The alignment of curriculum, instruction and assessment ensures that classroom implementation and student assessment are consistent and that student assessment strategies measure whether students have attained curriculum objectives. Program review. The health education program should be reviewed on a regular basis, at a minimum of every three to five years, to determine if content and materials need to be updated or revised. This includes reviewing educational materials that are used in the program.

Program evaluation. The district should conduct regular evaluation of the health education program at a minimum of every three to five years. Sexual health education programs should be evaluated systematically to determine how much of the curriculum is being delivered and whether instruction is consistent with the planned curriculum. June Adolescent Sexuality. Retrieved on March 31, Advocates for Youth and the Parinsky Group.

Speaking out! These individuals acknowledge that culture impacts test performance, but they do not equate or associate low performance with inferiority. Beyond the ongoing debates about the source in intelligence, there are equally spirited and rigorous debates about the use of standardized tests with diverse groups, with the greatest attention to issues of test bias Armour-Thomas, ; Helms, Many test developers have gone to great length to decrease or eliminate if this is possible culturally biased or culturally-loaded test items Johnsen, Accordingly, some scholars contend that test bias no longer exists e. In sum, there is little consensus in education and psychology about the reasons diverse students score lower on standardized tests of intelligence than do White students.

Further, there is little consensus regarding the definition of intelligence, the definition of test bias, the existence of test bias, the types of test biases, the impact of test bias on diverse students, and the nature and extent of test bias in contemporary or newly re-normed tests. With so many unanswered questions and controversies regarding intelligence, testing in general, and testing diverse students in particular, what can educators in gifted education do to ensure that these students have access to and are represented in gifted education programs and services?

There is a longstanding and persistent debate regarding the equitable use of tests and assessment strategies with diverse populations. This debate and related concerns are especially prevalent in cases of high-stakes testing, where tests are used to make important and long-term educational decisions about students. Psychological and psychoeducational assessment is an area that has been heavily subjected to complaints about the differential treatment of diverse groups. Specifically, questions have been raised regarding whether standardized intelligence tests are biased. Tests can be biased in terms of impact e. This concept is referred to as disparate impact Office for Civil Rights [OCR], and may not be associated with statistical biases, defined next.

The Joint Standards defined statistical bias as a systematic error in a test score. In discussing test fairness, statistical bias may refer to construct under-representation or construct-irrelevant components of test scores that differentially affect the performance of different groups of test takers. Thus, it is important to note that when tests are used for selecting and screening, the potential for denying diverse groups access to educational opportunities, such as gifted education programs, due to bias is great. The consequences of interpretation bias are grave. For instance, because many school districts rely on a single test score to place students in gifted education programs 2 , and given the lower performance of diverse groups on tests, this practice serves as an effective gate-keeping mechanism.

Interpreting test performance—high or low—based on one test or measure must be avoided due to the limited data provided from a single score. In other words:. Our basic obligation as educators is to meet the needs of students as they come to us—with their different learning styles, economic backgrounds, cultural backgrounds, and academic skills. In Larry P. Riles , the court argued:. Culture is a way of life, a way of looking at and interpreting life, and a way of responding to life.

Members of these groups have in common beliefs, attitudes, traditions, customs, and behaviors e. Likewise, Helms asks:. The implications of these questions for educators are that, when differences in performance on intelligence tests are attributed to racial or ethnic differences, educators must recognize this explanation for the non sequitur that it is. Instead of continuing to use such measures until something better comes along, educators must challenge the scientists on whose work their test usage is based to find culturally defined psychological explanations e.

Lam discussed five assumptions or misassumptions that summarize the many concerns that persist relative to intelligence testing and diverse groups:. Intelligence tests are here to stay. However, educators are not bound by their exclusive use. The first step is to develop culturally sensitive assumptions. Culturally Sensitive Assumptions The accuracy and appropriateness of the intellectual assessment process is based on a number of assumptions, a few of which were discussed earlier. Kaufman , suggested alternative assumptions worthy of adoption because they offer promise in making testing more culturally sensitive:. Regardless of whether one is using traditional intelligence tests or tests considered to be less culturally-loaded, testing, assessment, test interpretation, and test use must be guided by sound, defensible, and equitable principles and practices.

The following guiding principles are offered for consideration:. Selecting, interpreting and using tests are complicated endeavors. When one adds student differences, including cultural diversity, to the situation, the complexity increases. A discussion on the nature-nurture debate was discussed briefly. Little attention was given to this controversy because the discussion is convoluted—for every publication that convincingly argues for the heredity position, an equally compelling publication argues for the environmental position.

Likewise, for every publication that argues persuasively against the existence of test bias, a counterargument convincingly contends that tests continue to be biased against diverse groups. There is no debate, however, that culturally and linguistically diverse students are consistently under-represented in gifted programs. These tests have served as gatekeepers for diverse students. Suggestions for ensuring equitable, culturally responsive assessment practices were provided, along with attention to alternative tests—non-verbal ability tests.

Professionals must be vigilant about finding and solving factors that hinder the test performance of diverse students. Tests are tools. The ultimate responsibility for equitable assessment rests with those who develop, administer, interpret, and use tests. Tests in and of themselves are harmless; they become harmful when misunderstood and misused. Historically, diverse students have been harmed educationally by test misuse. The pedagogical clock is ticking. What better time than today to be more responsible in eliminating barriers to the representation of diverse students in gifted education.

According to the most recent report by the Council of State Directors of Programs for the Gifted and the National Association for Gifted Children , in , only 24 states mandate non-discriminatory testing in their gifted education policies and procedures, while 18 report no such mandate pp. Further, several states report using one score to make placement decisions e. Back to Newsletter Articles Page. UConn A-Z. Tests are not perfect. Test questions are a sample of possible questions that could be asked in a given area.

OCR, , p. If tests predict that a person is going to be a poor employee, the employer can legitimately deny the person the job, but if tests suggest that a young child is probably going to be a poor student, a school cannot on that basis alone deny that child the opportunity to improve and develop the academic skills necessary to succeed in our society. Standards for educational and psychological testing. Washington, DC: Authors. Armour-Thomas, E. Intellectual assessment of children from culturally diverse backgrounds.

School Psychology Review, 21 4 , Boykin, A. The triple quandary and the schooling of Afro-American children. Neisser Ed. Hillsdale, NJ: Lawrence Erlbaum. Callahan, C. Identifying outstanding talent in American Indian and Alaska Native students. Washington, DC: U. Department of Education. State of the states gifted and talented education report, Delpit, L. Erickson, F. Culture in society and in educational practices. Banks Eds. Fancher, R. The intelligence men: Makers of the IQ controversy.

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