The Opportunity Gap at the Classroom Level: Validation of the Classroom Multicultural Competence Measure

Tinia R Merriweather, Fordham University


The purpose of this study was to generate evidence in support of the reliability and validity of the Classroom Multicultural Competence Measure (CMCM). The CMCM is a new classroom observation instrument that captures how equitably learning opportunities are distributed in a classroom across students of various race and gender intersections. It operationalizes a new construct, classroom multicultural competence. Classroom multicultural competence exists at the nexus of competence and equity. This study used video recordings of fourth and fifth grade classrooms (N = 75 classroom observations; N = 46 teachers; N = 1114 students) from the Measures of Effective Teaching (MET) dataset in order to examine how classrooms scored on the CMCM, the initial reliability and validity of the CMCM, and whether or not the opportunity gap could be measured at the classroom level. Findings suggest that more work is needed in measure development and procedure refinement. Because the CMCM is not yet reliable and valid, results obtained using the CMCM should be interpreted with caution. However, these limited initial results suggest that classrooms with higher proportions of male students have more learning opportunities presented in the classroom and White women teachers have lower scores on the equitable distribution of learning opportunity than all other teachers in the dataset. Because much of the research on the persistence of opportunity gaps is focused at a macro level, the CMCM has the potential to fill a gap in understanding mechanisms of opportunity gaps in classrooms. Additionally, strategies for remediating gaps have focused on policy-level issues, such as school funding structures, and school-level issues, such as the retention of qualified teachers, as well as a call for teachers to become more inclusive and culturally relevant and responsive in their instruction. However, few studies have focused on measuring the classroom processes related to equity in learning opportunities in the classroom. As the CMCM continues to develop in future studies, the goal is to contribute a measure with utility in research and in practice toward the end of reducing opportunity gaps in classrooms and optimizing learning opportunities for all students.

Subject Area

Developmental psychology

Recommended Citation

Merriweather, Tinia R, "The Opportunity Gap at the Classroom Level: Validation of the Classroom Multicultural Competence Measure" (2018). ETD Collection for Fordham University. AAI10815321.