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Progressing Culturally Responsive Assessment for Higher Education Institutions

Diversity and Triumphs of Navigating the Terrain of Academe

ISBN: 978-1-78973-608-3, eISBN: 978-1-78973-607-6

Publication date: 30 May 2019


The chapter establishes the rationale for the development of an online professional development course in designing culturally responsive assessment for faculty of the Institute of Education in Dublin City University. As the literature on which the course is based is from several countries, the course may be considered relevant for faculty in various countries and can be accessed as the course is online. The course of about 3.5 hours in duration begins with a definition of culturally responsive assessment before emphasizing the desirability of culturally responsive assessment based mainly on the obligation to design tests that are fair to all test takers. Key elements of the program are the concepts of multicultural validity, construct validity, language issues, dimensions of cultural difference impacting on learning and assessment, and the lecturer/supervisor as researcher of their own students as well as of their own enculturation. The focus is on the implications of these concepts for professional practice. The course synthesizes several sources to posit eight criteria for the preparation, process, and outcomes of culturally responsive assessment before presenting several assessment modes that have potential to be culturally fair. Finally, the course provides the opportunity for participants to design culturally responsive assessment in their own disciplines and then requests the participants to evaluate their designs in light of the criteria. Twelve respondents to a pilot study were essentially very positive about the value of the online course.



Burns, D., Brown, M., O’Hara, J. and McNamara, G. (2019), "Progressing Culturally Responsive Assessment for Higher Education Institutions", Diversity and Triumphs of Navigating the Terrain of Academe (Diversity in Higher Education, Vol. 23), Emerald Publishing Limited, Leeds, pp. 63-85.



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