Possibilities and limitations of intercultural competence assessment

Competenze interculturali

The assessment of intercultural competence is an issue of primary importance, especially nowadays in a society becoming more and more complex and multicultural. Far from being merely a question of methodological choice, it rather represents a theoretical, epistemological and, ultimately, an ethical challenge, given its impact on the subjects involved. What would it actually mean, thinking about the practical, factual consequences, if a student wouldn’t give importance to human rights and cultural diversity? Or if he/she had the lowest level of respect for others? And what would the implications of a “negative” evaluation be in terms of consequential actions by teachers? Should they intervene by trying to change students’ values and attitudes? These are only some of the questions that outline a field which is currently debated. After analyzing some critical problems including the limits of the models that currently exist in literature, the difficulty in the assessment of attitude and awareness in a reliable manner and the gaps in identifying the relationship between tout court intercultural competence and an interculturally competent performance, the author outlines some proposals to carry out the assessment in education.

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