As part of American Field Studies (AFS) 2023 International Education Week, three experts in the field of international education led a panel discussion on intercultural assessment tools used most frequently in study away, virtual exchange, and classroom settings. 

In case you missed the live event, anyone wanting to learn the importance of assessing students as part of any successful international experience, or even simply being part of a highly diverse college or university, can still tune in to this informative web-based learning opportunity

Listening to the panel discussion will provide a more nuanced view of the assessments, as well as provide helpful and detailed insights from the Q&A session. However, for those with limited time, read on to garner a beneficial understanding of the importance and use of the gold standards of intercultural assessment tools: the Inclusion Competencies Inventory (ICI) and the Intercultural Effectiveness Scale (IES).

In this webinar, the three panelists discuss hands-on, tried, and tested teaching and training practices to cultivate and assess inclusion competencies from their positions of leadership in the field. Panelist Chris Cartwright, EdD has over 40 years of experience working in various capacities within the spheres of education, assessment, diversity, and international programming. He supports individuals and organizations in assessing and developing inclusive intercultural competencies. Through all of his roles and many decades of experience, he has become one of the foremost experts in the field of global leadership development and intercultural competency assessment and evaluation.

Panelist Stacy Menezes is a final-year PhD candidate at the Goa Institute of Management in India. She completed her Master’s in Industrial and Organizational Psychology and has worked in many departments and organizations in India. She has presented at the Indian Academy of Management conference and continues to publish her work in relevant academic journals. Her research focus is on the critical areas of inclusivity in talent identification and inclusive competency development.

Anaïs Chauvet, the third panelist, has completed a Master of International Affairs with a focus on the Asia Pacific region. She is currently an Educational Support Specialist at AFS Intercultural Programs. In this role, she focuses on developing, implementing, and supporting AFS’ online educational programs on global competence and intercultural skills development. She has also managed the Global U Adventure virtual Exchange program which has seen over 850 teenagers from over 55 countries develop their intercultural skills.

The panelists’ extensive bios demonstrate how well-versed and dynamic these presenters are in the assessment tools. The anecdotal experience of these three provides practical and successful examples of these assessment tools. 

The Inclusion Competency Inventory was developed by the Kozai Group to enhance and support holistic learning and growth measurements within the diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) space. By looking holistically at the three components, Kozai Group was able to find and measure core competencies that would help individuals become more inclusive in their educational growth and development. They utilize four core dimensions of how people interact with and perceive their world:

  • Cognition (attitudes, stereotypes, bias, intercultural understanding)
  • Behavior (microaggressions, micro-affirmations, microinequities, mindful communication, power, equity, inclusion)
  • Organizational (DEI benchmarking, audits, policy and strategy)
  • Societal (allyship, interculturalism, critical thinking Satyagraha (oneness with all))

These four core dimensions and all their myriad parts help comprise the inclusion competencies of the ICI. The Inclusion Competency Inventory distills these complex large-scale fundamental building blocks to processing the world and measures an individual’s inclusion competency index by providing them with aggregated, individualized data reflecting three factors: how well an individual knows themselves, knows others, and how they bridge these differences. Even people highly familiar with the ICI will benefit from the complex and detailed accounts discussing the six dimensions that comprise its three factors in the webinar

Perhaps the most enlightening portion of the webinar highlighting the ICI is its application at Goa University in India. Menezes provides a detailed statistical and qualitative aggregated analysis of individuals’ inclusion competencies that was used to develop a harmonious work and learning environment even with initial accounts of caste-based discrimination. A strength that was highlighted in Menezes’ study is the personalized development plans that the ICI outlines for its test takers. The students cited the high-level skills that the ICI enabled them to identify and work on to help them not only grow in the DEI space, but in broad work-related ways as well, such as the ability to network effectively, engage in productive group dynamics, and learn more about their strengths and weaknesses.

Similar to the ICI, the Intercultural Effectiveness Scale (IES) provides an individual with the data and tools to increase their ability to grow and perform effectively. But instead of highlighting diversity, equity, and inclusion indices, the IES focuses on intercultural effectiveness. The IES measures continuous learning, interpersonal engagement, and hardiness and six dimensions within these three factors. Chauvet discusses a controlled experiment performed by the AFS for teens virtually studying abroad. Due to its rigor and strength of assessment, the AFS chose Kozai’s IES to measure whether their virtual study abroad programs increase students’ global competence. Watch the webinar to learn more about the results of the study.

Both the ICI and IES provide the world’s foremost assessments for measuring growth in the core competencies to understand where someone has strengths and weaknesses in their ability to understand oneself and the world around them. Everyone is different and the ability to measure how an individual perceives and reacts to these differences is a crucial tool to developing accepting, inclusive colleges, universities, and workplaces regardless of the culture someone is from or what culture they may be studying or working in, even their own.

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