The Intercultura Foundation, EFIL (European Federation for Intercultural Learning) and AFS Intercultural Programs have organised the sixth “Forum on Intercultural Learning and Exchange” – an annual meeting of about 60 researchers and practitioners from all over the world to discuss issues that are relevant in this field of educational exchange.
This year the two-and-a-half day session focused on The school assessment of the intercultural learning of pupils during and after individual exchanges abroad with the idea of collecting ideas for a toolbox for assessment to be used by schools. The discussions tackled five aspects:
1. the present situation: how are schools in different countries assessing intercultural learning?
2. how to assess: how can “intercultural learning” be translated into actions that are measurable by a school, in the context of pupils’ individual exchanges (learning a foreign language? making friends across borders? lowering anxiety in intercultural encounters?)
3. assessment by host schools: how can a host school more formally intervene in the intercultural learning process during an exchange and assess it throughout the experience?
4. assessment by sending schools: how can a sending school assess the intercultural learning at the end of an experience abroad and include it in the overall pupil assessment?
5. role that organisations expert in intercultural learning (like AFS and EFIL) may play in facilitating the learning assessment.
The opening inputs came from Mario Piacentini (OECD, PISA and the assessment of global competences), Emanuele Pesoli (International Baccalaureate) and Martyn Barrett (Surrey University, Council of Europe expert group developing the assessment framework of competences for democratic culture). Testimonials and suggestions on assessment were presented by experts from AFS Intercultural Programs, University of Rome ‘Tor Vergata’, French Erasmus+ National Agency and by teachers from schools in Germany and India.
The well-thought out formula of the sessions alternated plenary presentations with long group discussions and created an excellent mixture of theory and practice and a fruitful exchange of views between academics and practitioners, that extended through lunches at dinners – all well organised by Intercultura Foundation that hosted and funded the meeting.
The Forum built on the previous two editions which were also focusing on assessment of intercultural competences. The conclusions for developing a toolbox for assessment to be used in schools are: involve stakeholders especially students, use assessment for students as feedback and as a formative assessment to support learning, utilize the assessment principles outlined at FILE 2014, train and support assessors, and foster sharing of ideas tools, resources, be consistent and transparent, make intercultural competences as concrete as possible, adapt current practices in schools and utilize the diverse contexts that are already present in the classroom.
The proceedings of the Forum will be available at the beginning of 2016.
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