Degree Type


Date of Award


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy


Curriculum and Instruction

First Advisor

Theresa E. McCormick


The multicultural literature clearly identifies equity as a concept that embodies social justice and fairness; however, preservice teachers do not have this understanding. Numerous studies have been conducted in an attempt to understand why preservice teachers typically do not regard equitable teaching as being a priority in the classroom. It is unclear, however, whether other factors contribute to preservice teachers' lack of concern in creating and supporting equitable learning. The purpose of this study was to identify factors and concepts that affect preservice teachers' understanding of equity issues in education and to establish a baseline of data on their initial responses to equity issues in education;In this study data were gathered and analyzed from undergraduate preservice teachers enrolled in 13 sections of a required undergraduate multicultural and gender fair course in the Department of Curriculum and Instruction at Iowa State University from 1994 through 2000. The data were derived from an 81-item survey that was administered at the beginning of each semester. A baseline of information describing undergraduate preservice teachers' initial perceptions toward equity in education as they entered the final two years of their undergraduate preservice teacher program was established by using these data;Results from correlation and regression analyses indicated that preservice teachers' initial perceptions of culture, discrimination, and the historical experiences of people of color are significant factors that contribute to shaping their perceptions of equity. The results of this study showed that perceptions of the "nature of culture," "socioeconomic class," the "historical roots of racism in the U.S.," and "the nature and impact of discrimination" do affect preservice teachers' initial perceptions of equity in education. However, the researcher found that preservice teachers' initial perceptions of "nature of culture" and their initial perceptions of "historical roots of racism" may have a greater effect on their initial perceptions of equity in education than their perceptions of "the nature and impact discrimination" and of "socioeconomic class." Limitations and implications of this study were also discussed.



Digital Repository @ Iowa State University,

Copyright Owner

James Christopher McShay



Proquest ID


File Format


File Size

128 pages