11 SES 12, Educational Improvement
This paper presents the conceptual framework for the project “Aiding culturally responsive assessment in schools” (ACRAS). The project has partners in Austria (Johannes Kepler University in Linz), Ireland (Dublin City University), Norway (University of Oslo), and Turkey (Çankiri Karatekin University). The scope of the project is school-based assessment in secondary schools, comprising teacher-managed assessment. The target population is students with migration backgrounds and/or whose first language in most cases is different from that of the language of the classroom.
This paper is based on the outcomes of the literature surveys conducted by the four partners and the exploratory questionnaire that surveyed secondary schools in the four countries. The aim of the study is to provide a toolkit for teachers for culturally responsive classroom assessment based on best practice.
The research question for this paper is: Based on the literature surveys and the questionnaire responses, what are the key themes and concepts that guide the ACRAS project?
The theoretical framework of this paper is the assumption that analysis of the literature surveys and the responses to the questionnaires yield a guide or a framework for the outcomes of the project. This reflects an interpretive theoretical framework where the meaning in social constructions of research and questionnaire responses can be explored. The analysis provides the themes and concepts embedded in the literature and the recurring themes in the questionnaires, thus facilitating a comparison of the aspirations in the literature and the beliefs and practices of school personnel. The concepts serve as a guide as to what we should attend to in the future case studies, data analysis, outcomes and reporting for the ACRAS study.
The project addresses the issue of culturally responsive assessment for students with a migration background because the immigration into each of the four countries of people from different countries, though at different levels, has resulted in school populations of various cultures. To date, most of the literature on culturally responsive issues addresses learning and pedagogy, rather than assessment.
The focus on culturally responsive teaching and learning has arisen because of the documented inequality in educational achievement of minority cultural groups (for example, Bradshaw, O’Brennan & McNeely, 2008; Raines, Dever, Kamphaus & Roach, 2012). Herzog-Punzenberger’s (2017) analysis of PISA results for the four partner countries in a quasi-longitudinal perspective indicates the performance of immigrant students compared to their native peers (p. 8). While the analysis considers context factors such as the share of immigrant students among all students and the likelihood for immigrant students to be placed in schools with a large share of socially disadvantaged students, the analysis reveals variation in the performance gap between immigrant students and native peers in the four countries (p. 8).
The need to address assessment that is culturally responsive is considered a legal requirement, such as the International law on Rights of Minorities, as well as fairness, ethics and the desirability of diversity. Fairness has become a central concept in the impetus for culturally responsive assessment. While curriculum and assessment systems differ in the four countries with different levels of centrality and uniformity, classroom-based assessment is a common feature.
The theoretical framework espoused by the project includes the belief that the quality of classroom assessment in the four partner countries can be improved by exploring best practice in order to provide support for teachers in the four countries in utilising assessment methods that are culturally fair.
This paper used a method of analysis of: literature survey reports from each country and descriptive analysis of questionnaire results from each country in order to distil themes and concepts. Each partner country had conducted a literature survey on some aspect of culturally responsive assessment, covering both national and international literature. Each partner country conducted questionnaires of secondary school personnel and provided all partners with a descriptive analysis of the responses. This methodology reflects a qualitative data analysis as described by Miles and Huberman (1994). Reading, coding, re-reading and drafting suggested over-arching themes and concepts that fitted within each theme. The draft that emerged from this methodology was shared and discussed in a face-to face meeting with the four partner countries in October 2017 and was thus further refined.
The literature surveys from the four partner countries yielded sixteen concepts for the project. As these concepts provide implications for future practice, they provide signposts for the data collection and data analysis in this project and the outcome of the project: a toolkit for secondary teachers for culturally responsive assessment. Analysis of the questionnaire responses noted similarities and differences between the four countries in the beliefs and practices of school personnel. Analysis of reports also provided a comparison of the literature with the questionnaires. The literature provides a vision for the culturally competent teacher in a diverse classroom. The questionnaire responses, particularly the open-ended comments by school personnel, indicated that teacher beliefs and practice are not currently in alignment with the vision of the culturally competent teacher in a diverse classroom. The literature and questionnaires indicated the depth of the challenge and necessary supports for teacher practice to be in alignment with the vision. This part of the study provides a scaffold for the outcomes of the project which aim to improve teacher practice in culturally fair classroom assessment in the four countries. With its implications for practice, this conceptual framework provides a model for quality in culturally responsive classroom assessment in secondary schools in four countries.
American Psychological Association (APA) (2004). Code of Fair Testing Practices in Education. Retrieve d from http://www.apa.org/science/programs/testing/fair-code.aspx Barrett, M., Byram, M., Lázár, I., Mompoint-Gaillard, P. & S. Philippou (2014). Developing Intercultural Competence through Education. Strasbourg: Council of Europe Publishing Bradshaw, C. P., O'Brennan, L. M. & McNeely, C. A. (2008), Core competencies and the prevention of school failure and early school leaving. New Directions for Child and Adolescent Development, 19–32. doi: 10.1002/cd.226 Deardorff, D. K. (Ed.). (2009). The Sage Handbook of Intercultural Competence. Sage. ISBN: 978-1-4129-6045-8 DeBacker, F., Van Avermaet, P. & Slembrouck, S. (2017). Schools as laboratories for exploring multilingual assessment policies and practice. Language and Education 31(3), 217-230. doi.org.dcu.idm.oclc.org/10.1080/09500782.2016.1261896 Herzog-Punzenberger, B. (2017). Overview of results for the OECD PISA: Study for the ACRAS member countries: Austria, Ireland, Norway, Turkey Karatas, K. & Oral, B. (2015). Teachers’ Perceptions on Culturally Responsiveness in Education, Journal of Ethnic and Cultural Studies, 2 (2), 47-57. http://www.ejecs.org/index.php/JECS Kim, K. H. & Zabelina, D. (2015). Cultural Bias in Assessment: Can Creativity Assessment Help? International Journal of Critical Pedagogy. 6 (2), 129-147. University of North Carolina. https://libjournal.uncg.edu/ijcp LaFrance, J., Kirkhart, K. E. & Nichols, R. (2015). Cultural Views of Validity: A Conversation. In S. Hood, R. Hopson & H. Frierson (Eds.). Continuing the Journey to Reposition Culture and Cultural Context in Evaluation Theory and Practice. (pp. 49-72). Charlotte, NC: Information Age Publishing. Luciak, M. (2010). Educating teachers for diversity: Meeting the challenge. On diversity in educational contexts. In: Centre for Educational Research and Innovation. In OECD/CERI, (pp. 41- 62). Paris: OECD. ISBN: 9789264079724 Miles, M. B. & Huberman, A. M. (1994). Qualitative Data Analysis: An expanded sourcebook. 2nd ed. Sage. Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD). (2016). Global competency for an inclusive world. Paris: OECD. https://www.oecd.org/education/Global-competency-for-an-inclusive-world.pdf Parrish, P. & Linder-VanBerschot, J. A. (2010). Cultural dimensions of learning: Addressing the challenges of multicultural instruction. International Review of Research in Open and Distance Learning 11 (2), 1-19. www.irrodl.org/index.php/irrodl/article/viewFile/809/1553 Portera, A. (2008). Intercultural education in Europe: epistemological and semantic aspects. Intercultural Education 19 (6), 481 – 491 doi: 10.1080/14675980802568277 Raines, T. C., Dever, B. V., Kamphaus, R. W. & Roach, A. T. (2012). Disproportionate Placement in Special Education. The Journal of Negro Education. 81 (3), 283-296. doi:10.7709/jnegroeducation.81.3.0283
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