Equity of participation in virtual classrooms. Data is reported back at the aggregate school or district level.
Use this measure:
The Equitable Classrooms website contains further information about Equitable Classrooms and an opportunity to sign up for the tool.
Measurement instrument overview
Equitable Classrooms is a free tool that integrates district-provided student demographic data with Zoom and Microsoft Teams to deliver data on who is participating in virtual instruction. The data are broken down in reports by district-defined priority subgroups. This tool was launched in early 2021 and is thus early in the process of being used on a wide scale.
Connection to student learning
Understanding equity of participation is critical in the virtual learning environment. Research has shown that students who participate more in math classrooms have better learning outcomes, including higher scores on standardized assessments.i In the virtual learning environment, students from historically underserved subgroups have been less likely to log in to online instruction and less likely to be in schools with high-quality remote learning.ii In order to prevent equity gaps from widening, districts and schools must understand which students are struggling to engage in the virtual learning environment. The Equitable Classrooms tool provides data on equity of voice so that schools and districts can address harmful gaps in student participation.
i Ing, M., Webb, N. M., Franke, M. L., Turrou, A. C., Wong, J., Shin, N., & Fernandez, C. H. (2015). Student participation in elementary mathematics classrooms: The missing link between teacher practices and student achievement? Educ Stud Math 90, 341–356.
Van de gaer, E., Pustjens, H., Van Damme, J., & De Munter, A. (2008). Mathematics participation and mathematics achievement across secondary school: The role of gender. Sex Roles (59), 568–585. https://doi.org/10.1007/s11199-008-9455-x
ii Dorn, E., Hancock, B., Sarakatsannis, J., & Viruleg, E. (2020). COVID-19 and student learning in the United States: The hurt could last a lifetime. McKinsey & Company.
What we know about how well this measure works for its intended use
Equitable Classrooms is a new tool, and districts are still exploring its implementation and use.
With the tool launching in early 2021, Equitable Classrooms states that in the middle of 2021 there will be “deep-dive” sessions with school and district leaders to share results and explore next steps.
Once the technical integration is complete, Equitable Classrooms measures participation in all virtual classrooms.
Measurement routine details
Equitable Classrooms relies on a technical integration with school districts’ Zoom or Microsoft Teams platforms in which districts provide student demographic information. After integration, the tool works in the background of each virtual classroom to measure which students are speaking and how levels of participation differ by demographic characteristic. Aside from agreeing to participate in this data collection, teachers do not have to conduct additional work to collect these data.
Data analysis details
Equitable Classrooms provided several visualizations previewing data analysis that can be done by district and school leaders. Below is a chart showing average participation (in minutes per day) by student race/ethnicity, broken out by type of school.
Below is a chart showing average participation for English learners and long-term English learners, broken out by school.
The chart below shows the breakdown on who is talking in class, the average participation by student ethnicity, and the trends in participation.
Conditions that support use
Equitable Classrooms may be most successful in districts with an outreach strategy for working with disengaged student groups.
Given that Equitable Classrooms solely measures the frequency and length of participation, it does not give insights into the quality and nature of a student’s participation. These data may better reflect the quality of instruction when considered along with other data and teaching and learning.
Other tools and resources to support use
Further details and resources are available on the Equitable Classrooms site.
Interviewee: Jamie Poskin, Founder and Executive Director of TeachFX