07 SES 16 B, Different School Actors Dealing with Diversity
Meeting the needs of a diverse, multi-cultural classroom poses major challenges to the education systems at all levels in many European countries. While various strategies and supports for language acquisition have been put in place in some countries to encourage social integration and to increase awareness of diversity; educational outcomes for migrant students have not always been comparably positive as that of their peers born in the respective countries. In almost all European countries, first-generation migrant students leave education earlier than non-migrant students (European Union, 2019). Analysis of PISA test scores (OECD, 2016) also demonstrates that, in most OECD countries (including high performing OECD countries such as Finland) the majority of migrant students performed worse than those students without a migrant background even when value-added indicators such as socioeconomic status are factored in (Bilgli et al., 2018).
An increasing body of literature suggests that, in order to counteract the performance divide between migrant and non-migrant students, education systems need to put in place mechanisms and supports to ensure that learning environments are ‘culturally relevant’ (Ladson-Billings, 1995; Ford & Kea, 2009) and ‘culturally responsive’ (Gay, 2018; Villegas & Lucas, 2002). According to Ford and Kea (2009), there are five interconnected components of cultural responsiveness that ensure equitable participation in education for students with a migration background: ‘Curriculum’ (Banks, 2008; 2006); ‘Philosophy’ (Ford & Kea, 2009); ‘Instruction’ (Gay, 2018); ‘the Learning Environment’ (Rothstein-Fisch & Trumbull 2008); and ‘Assessment’ (Hood, 1998). This paper is concerned with one core aspect of cultural responsiveness referred to as Culturally Responsive Assessment.
The concept of 'culturally responsive assessment' (Basterra et al., 2011) focuses on the fact that performance appraisal practices have themselves emerged in specific linguistic and cultural contexts and are, as it were, 'impregnated' by them. Some knowledge of and experience with the cultural specificities of assessment practice will therefore be conducive for success in assessment situations, while conversely, new students who have not yet gained experience in these assessment practices are at risk of ‘under-performing’ and of being ‘under-assessed’ by the very way assessment is organized and conducted - with potentially far-reaching implications for further learning, career and life.
The core dimensions for culturally responsive assessment (CRA) suggest that specific methods of assessment such as performance assessment have the potential of being culturally fairer and within this, there also needs to be a greater recognition and understanding of test design as it applies to all cultures (Arbuthnot, 2017). In North America for example, culturally responsive assessment methods such as creativity assessment are increasingly being used with ethnic minority students (Aceves & Orosco, 2014; Nelson-Barber & Trumball, 2007). However, in the case of Europe, a review of the literature (Burns et al., 2019) suggests that very few studies have examined assessment strategies that teachers use to integrate cultural responsiveness into their student assessments. Nor is there a significant body of research relating to the specific challenges faced by European school teachers when assessing students with a migrant background (as opposed to underprivileged indigenous students, as in many North American studies).
Research questions :
(1) What aspects of diversity are teachers in case schools attending to in assessment situations?
(2) What strategies do teachers in case schools use in assessment situations to account for student diversity?
The data base of the study consists of a series of 20 multi-site case studies of school assessment practices in four European countries based on qualitative interviews and documents (e.g. on diversity and assessment policies)..
To increase the body of research in this area, this paper as part of a three year Erasmus+ project titled “Aiding Culturally Responsive Assessment in Schools” (ACRAS) provides an analysis of assessment practices in overall twenty European secondary schools in Austria, Ireland, Turkey and Norway based on school case studies. Two research questions will be discussed: (1) What aspects of diversity are teachers in case schools attending to in assessment situations? (2) What strategies do teachers in case schools use in assessment situations to account for student diversity? The data base of the study consists of a series of 20 multi-site case studies of school assessment practices in four European countries. Following recommendations by Yin (2014), the first phase of the case study included the development and agreement of a case study protocol by partner countries. Within this, it was agreed that the selection of secondary schools would include schools from a variety of settings that are reflecting the migration population of each country. In each school a series of qualitative guideline-based interviews with eight to fifteen members of staff and group interviews with no more than sixty students and parents were conducted. Other types of evidence such as diversity and assessment policies were also used to provide an overall interpretation of assessment practices in each case school. Data was analysed through qualitative content analysis (Mayring, 2015) for each country with a focus on patterns of teachers’ perception and explanation of student performance and on actual procedures of assessing students with other linguistic and cultural background. Finally, in a cross case analysis (Feldman et al., 2018) the twenty case studies were analysed for overlapping and contradicting patterns within and between the countries.
The paper presents and discusses different strategies for coping with cultural diversity in assessment situations and patterns of justification used by teachers in these schools. While a considerable proportion of school personnel in the schools in this study espoused the aspiration of the benefits of diversity for all students, there are only a few schools where cultural responsivity in teaching and, even less, in assessment is encouraged and supported by a coherent whole-school policy. While case study reveal a broad and inspiring variety of individual responses to the challenges of assessment of diverse students, lack of institutional backing leaves teachers often significantly challenged with the practice of culturally responsive assessment and in need support at all levels of educational systems for policy, professional development and resources. In almost all cases, there seems to be very little if any continuing professional learning opportunities for teachers to enhance culturally responsive practices in their schools and with no surprise, very few teachers have considered other than distinguishing between personality traits and social background issues, the various dimensions of culturally responsive classrooms as described by Ford and Kea (2009).
Aceves, T. C., and Orosco, M. J. (2014). Culturally responsive teaching (Document No. IC-2). Available at: http://ceedar.education.ufl.edu/tools/innovation-configurations/ Arbuthnot, K. (2017). Global Perspectives on Educational Testing: Examining Fairness, High-Stakes and Policy Reform. Emerald Publishing Limited. Banks, J. A. (2008). Teaching strategies for ethnic studies. Boston Allyn & Bacon Banks, J. A. (2006). Diversity in american education: Foundations, curriculum and teaching. Boston: Allyn & Bacon. Basterra, M. D. R., Trumbull, E. & Solano-Flores, G. (2011). Cultural validity in assessment: Addressing linguistic and cultural diversity. New York: Routledge. Bilgili O., Volante L., and Klinger, D. (2018) Immigrant student achievement and the performance disadvantage. In Volante L., Klinger D., Bilgili O. (Eds.), Immigrant Student Achievement and Education Policy. Policy Implications of Research in Education, (3-150). Springer, Cham. Burns, D., Altrichter, H., Brown, M., O’Hara, J., Nortvedt, G. & Nayir, F. (2019). Aiding Culturally Responsive Assessment in Schools. A Conceptual Framework, 25 pp. (under review). Central Statistics Office. (2017). Census 2016 summary results. Dublin : Central Statistics Office. European Commission (2017a) Integration of immigrants in the European Union. Available at: http://ec.europa.eu/commfrontoffice/publicopinion/index.cfm/survey/getsurveydetail/instruments/special/surveyky/2169 [Accessed 27 January 2019] European Commission (2017b) Migration and migrant population statistics. Available at: http://ec.europa.eu/eurostat/statistics-explained/index.php?title=File:Non-national_population_by_group_of_citizenship,_1_January_2017_.png Feldman, A., Altrichter, H., Posch, P. & Somekh, B. (2018). Teachers Investigate their Work. An introduction to action research across the professions. 3rd edition. London & New York: Routledge. Ford, D. Y., and Kea, C. D. (2009). Creating culturally responsive instruction: For students' sake and teachers' sake. Focus on Exceptional Children, (41), 1-18 Gay, G. (2018). Culturally responsive teaching: Theory, research and practice. (3rd ed.). Multicultural Education Series. New York: Teachers College Press, Columbia University Hood, S. (1998). Culturally-Responsive Performance-Based Assessment: Conceptual and Psychometric Considerations. The Journal of Negro Education, 67 (3), 187-196. Ladson-Billings, G., (1995). Toward a theory of culturally relevant pedagogy. American educational research journal, 32(3),465-491. Mayring, Philipp (2015). Qualitative Inhaltsanalyse: Grundlagen und Techniken. Weinheim: Beltz. Nelson-Barber, S. and Trumbull, E. (2007). Making assessment practices valid for Indigenous American students. Journal of American Indian Education, pp.132-147. Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD). (2016). Global competency for an inclusive world. Paris: OECD Rothstein-Fisch, C. and Trumbull, E. (2008). Managing Diverse Classrooms: How to Build on Students’ Cultural Strengths. Alexandria, US: Association for Supervision & Curriculum Development (ASCD), 2008 United Nations Department of Economic and Social Affairs. (2017). International Migration Report 2017 Available at: http://www.un.org/en/development/desa/population/migration/publications/migrationreport/docs/MigrationReport2017.pdf Villegas, A.M., and Lucas, T. (2002) Educating culturally responsive teachers: A coherent approach. Suny Press: New York. Yin, R.K. (2014). Case study research. Design and Methods. Thousand Oaks, Cal: Sage.
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