A Multicultural Assessment Reflection

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Tests and their Challenges

Tests are evaluations that are used to assess a person's aptitude, ability, or knowledge. Tests are typically given on paper, on a computer, or orally. These tests frequently differ in terms of rigor and style. Typically, examinations are standardized in order to be objective in assessing test takers. Nonetheless, due to the diverse origins of the pupils in a multicultural classroom, establishing equity is difficult. Standardized norm-referenced testing has lost its role as one of the greatest methods for determining learner success.

The Need for Re-evaluation

Testing, in general, needs to be re-evaluated in my opinion. More often than not, standardized norm-referenced testing checks the ability to remember as opposed to what the student has learned. Moreover, testing often does not pay mind to the different strengths of the test-takers but instead measures them using a yardstick that may be ineffective in obtaining the true potential and aptitudes of the test-takers, especially when they are from different backgrounds.

The Bias of Standardized Testing

Standardized norm-referenced testing is frequently biased because the validity and reliability of a test applied to persons of varying linguistic and cultural groups not incorporated in the standardization group are uncertain (Padilla, 2001). Therefore, it is vital to know that diversity may be present between the examiners and those taking the tests, even when these variations are not very clear. Although standardized tests target to assess general knowledge and intelligence, they are normally centered on the values and knowledge of the dominant groups which potentially creates a bias against the minority groups by different language backgrounds, race, and culture (Kim & Zabelina, 2015).

The Impact of Cultural Variations

The biasing effect intrinsic to the application of psychometric instruments is manifested when examinations of cognitive ability and intelligence are issued to persons whose exposure, experiences and background are not the same as those the persons who comprise the norm group against whom performance is measured (Solano-Flores & Trumbull, 2016). These tests are bound to measure a lower array of aptitude in such varied persons since they sample only the cultural knowledge linked to the majority experience, omitting the complete range of cultural knowledge of a person, with the possibility of drawing incorrect implications (Rhodes, Ochoa, & Ortiz, 2005).

Cultural Value and Interpretation of Tests

The wise item in one culture may not be considered so in another, since the meaning and value of intelligence basis on cultural norms. In additional to predispositions that informed by a cultural specific understanding of test components, there are language influences in the comprehension of test components (Watson & Flamez, 2015). Social and cultural norms determine how the examinees comprehend and interpret the wording of the questions asked in the tests. There are also issues of acculturation which result from cultural adaptation because of intercultural interactions which often occurs where the minority adopts to the majority culture which has an adverse impact on minority testing outcomes (Padilla, 2001).

The Inherent Challenges

Although standardized norm-referenced testing was created to level the playing field of an examination of students from different backgrounds, there are some issues that are inherent with this method of testing. Despite its claim of impartiality, the culture of the majority is often inherent in these tests, something which makes it harder for the minorities to obtain a fair assessment.


Kim, K. H., & Zabelina, D. (2015). Cultural bias in assessment: Can creativity assessment help? International Journal of Critical Pedagogy, 129-148.

Padilla, A. M. (2001). Issues in Culturally Appropriate Assessment. In L. A. Suzuki, J. G. Ponterotto, P. J. Meller, L. A. Suzuki, J. G. Ponterotto, & P. J. Meller (Eds.), Handbook of Multicultural Assessment (pp. 3-5). San Francisco: Jossey-Bass Inc.

Rhodes, R. L., Ochoa, S. H., & Ortiz, S. O. (2005). Assessing Culturally and Linguistically Diverse Students: A Practical Guide. New York: The Guilford Press.

Solano-Flores, G., & Trumbull, E. (2016). Examining Language in Context: The Need for New Research and Practice Paradigms in the Testing of English-Language Learners. Educational Researcher, 3-13.

Watson, J. C., & Flamez, B. (2015). Counseling Assessment and Evaluation: Fundamentals of Applied Practice. Thousand Oaks: Sage Publications.

April 19, 2023

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