Developing a process to create and validate an instrument assessing student attainment of competencies at an intercultural university in Mexico

Martha Fernanda Pineda Castilleja, Florida International University


This study took place at one of the intercultural universities (IUs) of Mexico that serve primarily indigenous students. The IUs are pioneers in higher education despite their numerous challenges (Bertely, 1998; Dietz, 2008; Pineda & Landorf, 2010; Schmelkes, 2009). To overcome educational inequalities among their students (Ahuja, Berumen, Casillas, Crispín, Delgado et al., 2004; Schmelkes, 2009), the IUs have embraced performance-based assessment (PBA; Casillas & Santini, 2006). PBA allows a shared model of power and control related to learning and evaluation (Anderson, 1998). While conducting a review on PBA strategies of the IUs, the researcher did not find a PBA instrument with valid and reliable estimates.^ The purpose of this study was to develop a process to create a PBA instrument, an analytic general rubric, with acceptable validity and reliability estimates to assess students' attainment of competencies in one of the IU's majors, Intercultural Development Management. The Human Capabilities Approach (HCA) was the theoretical framework and a sequential mixed method (Creswell, 2003; Teddlie & Tashakkori, 2009) was the research design. IU participants created a rubric during two focus groups, and seven Spanish-speaking professors in Mexico and the US piloted using students' research projects.^ The evidence that demonstrates the attainment of competencies at the IU is a complex set of actual, potential and/or desired performances or achievements, also conceptualized as "functional capabilities" (FCs; Walker, 2008), that can be used to develop a rubric. Results indicate that the rubric's validity and reliability estimates reached acceptable estimates of 80% agreement, surpassing minimum requirements (Newman, Newman, & Newman, 2011).^ Implications for practice involve the use of PBA within a formative assessment framework, and dynamic inclusion of constituencies. Recommendations for further research include introducing this study's instrument-development process to other IUs, conducting parallel mixed design studies exploring the intersection between HCA and assessment, and conducting a case study exploring assessment in intercultural settings.^ Education articulated through the HCA empowers students (Unterhalter & Brighouse, 2007; Walker, 2008). This study aimed to contribute to the quality of student learning assessment at the IUs by providing a participatory process to develop a PBA instrument.^

Subject Area

Education, Curriculum and Instruction

Recommended Citation

Pineda Castilleja, Martha Fernanda, "Developing a process to create and validate an instrument assessing student attainment of competencies at an intercultural university in Mexico" (2012). ProQuest ETD Collection for FIU. AAI3554199.