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Measuring Equity-Promoting Behaviors in Digital Teaching Simulations: A Topic Modeling Approach

Joshua Littenberg-Tobias, Elizabeth Borneman, Justin Reich


Diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) issues are urgent in education, given the widespread evidence of discriminatory behavior and widening racial disparities. Although DEI trainings can change participants’ attitudes they have minimal effects on behaviors. Simulations are a promising approach to address this gap between attitudinal and behavioral change. We developed an online course for educators (N = 963) that included a series of equity simulations and applied the structural topic model (STM), to identify alignment between participants’ simulated behavior and equity attitudes on surveys. STM identified meaningful topics within participants’ simulation responses and that the prevalence of these topics varied by equity attitudes. We also measured changes in participants’ behaviors over different, successive, simulations, by comparing with a reference group of high equity-oriented participants. Participants made significant shifts in the simulations toward equity-promoting behaviors (ES = 0.99), which corresponded with changes in equity-oriented attitudes (ES=0.74) and self-reported equity-promoting behaviors (ES=0.30).


Littenberg-Tobias, J., Reich, J., & Borneman, E. (2020, November 12). Measuring Equity-Promoting Behaviors in Digital Teaching Simulations: A Topic Modeling Approach.

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