NILOA Occasional Paper 29 – Equity and Assessment: Moving Towards Culturally Responsive Assessment

In NILOA’s twenty-ninth occasional paper, authors Erick Montenegro and Natasha A. Jankowski discuss the important role equity and cultural responsiveness have in assessment.

As colleges educate a more diverse and global student population, there is increased need to ensure every student succeeds regardless of their differences. This paper explores the relationship between equity and assessment, addressing the question: how consequential can assessment be to learning when assessment approaches may not be inclusive of diverse learners? The paper argues that for assessment to meet the goal of improving student learning and authentically documenting what students know and can do, a culturally responsive approach to assessment is needed. In describing what culturally responsive assessment entails, this paper offers a rationale as to why change is necessary, proposes a way to conceptualize the place of students and culture in assessment, and introduces three ways to help make assessment more culturally responsive.


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