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Cultural Validity in Assessment

Part of MAEC’s Boosting Success for 21st Century Learners Webinar Series, this webinar shares lessons learned from research and field experiences, illustrated by apt and eye-opening examples of how the failure to consider students’ contexts in designing assessments and assessment practices can result in wrong conclusions about student learning.

This session was originally held on March 16, 2012.


  • Guillermo Solano Flores, Assoc. Professor, Bilingual Education and ESL, Univ. of Colorado Boulder
  • Elise Trumbull, Independent Consultant, Oakland, California
  • Maria del Rosario Basterra, Deputy Director, The Mid-Atlantic Equity Center


Are assessments fair and valid for all students? How can we determine if assessment results are a true reflection of a student’s knowledge? Presenters Basterra, Flores, and Trumbull will discuss findings and illustrate the concept of “culturally valid assessment” from their book, Cultural Validity in Assessment: Addressing Linguistic and Cultural Diversity. This approach takes into consideration students’ socio-cultural backgrounds, educational experience, home language, communication style, and how they learn. Learning Outcomes.

Learning Outcomes:

  • Understand the concept of cultural validity and its relevance to today’s assessment
  • Recognize how cognition, language, and culture have an impact on assessment performance
  • Identify potential assessment sources of misinformation about student learning
  • Learn how to use and implement culturally valid assessments in the classroom.



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