Environmental Scan and Literature Review of Assessment in Intercultural Capability
The Australian Curriculum F – 10 has been accepted by all Australian states and territories, and includes Intercultural Understanding as one of its seven general capabilities. In Victoria, Intercultural Understanding has been incorporated into the Victorian Curriculum F-10 where capabilities are structured in exactly the same way as the learning areas.
The Victorian Curriculum Intercultural Capability is designed to enable students to learn to value their own cultures, languages and beliefs, while engaging positively with the cultures of others. Students learn about diverse cultures in ways that recognise commonalities and differences, learning to create connections with others while helping to cultivate mutual respect. In 2018, Victoria was the only state or territory in Australia with Intercultural Capability achievement standards, mandating the assessment of the Capability along with all other learning areas in the curriculum.
Intercultural scholars contend that assessing school students’ intercultural capability requires the presence of specific competencies such as respect for otherness, empathy, and reflexivity, along with knowledge, attitudes and skills. However there remain questions of the validity and reliability of assessing values and attitudes. The research literature on assessing Intercultural Capabilities is often focused on highly specific attributes associated with the immediate needs of certain groups of young people, for instance, those about to study in another country or culture. As such, this literature and the associated assessment strategies, are only of tangential assistance in assessing a capability.
This project sought to identify where those definitions focused on knowledge, understanding and skills rather than stressing the development of values and behaviours that students may be expected to acquire and enact. This aligned with the way the VCAA articulated Intercultural Capability as a continuum based on knowledge and skills.
This environmental scan surveyed national and international curricular and assessment practices in the field of Intercultural Capabilities, examining key conceptual similarities and differences in terms of key concepts, terminology or school-based assessment practices. It also interviewed key stakeholders in the various Australian educational jurisdictions in seeking to understand how they implement and assess Intercultural Understanding across their curricula.
Based on the preliminary findings of the environmental scan, the researchers provide an in-depth critical review of the current academic literature in the field of Intercultural Capabilities, by identifying and evaluating emerging, leading or established assessment tools as well as current issues in assessment.