Equity in education describes the idea that all students should have opportunities to develop their skills and knowledge and the support to achieve the learning outcomes of the class as well as their personal goals. While equality focuses on “sameness”, equitable teaching encourages educators to intentionally consider learner individuality and work to build classrooms, assessments, and systems that are designed to support and empower students of all backgrounds and identities. We can work towards equity in education by:
Removing Barriers - There are many elements of the traditional learning environment that present barriers for learners. As educators, we can help to remove barriers by our intentional choices in our course design processes. But we often can’t see barriers we may not have encountered ourselves. So it’s important to listen to our students, believe their lived experiences, and work collaboratively with them to break down barriers that are encountered, and to keep these barriers down for students in the future.
Forging Pathways - We can help forge pathways by creating inclusive learning environments that provide representations of the intersectionality and diversity in the discipline and in the community, opportunities for mentorship, and pipelines to increase access to health care and health sciences education.
Accessibility - it’s important to think about the accessibility of your course and its content across different levels. For example, is your content accessible for students who might be Deaf or hard of hearing, or have low vision (regardless of whether they have requested formal learning accommodations or adjustments)? Is your classroom accessible for students who might have acute or chronic mobility differences? Are your course deadlines, policies, and expectations considerate of individuals with a variety of backgrounds and identities?
Disaggregation of Learning Data - Not all learners benefit from educational activities and interventions at similar rates. It can be important to look beyond means and averages and to examine disaggregated data to determine if interventions are promoting equity or are further contributing to learning gaps.