Culturally responsive assessment and evaluation strategies for Indigenous teacher education students in remote communities of the Northern Territory of Australia


Preservice teacher educators at university level have a seemingly conflicting role of designing culturally responsive evaluation and assessment strategies that inform future classroom practitioners yet meet university assessment regulations. This paper reports how this duality is being successfully accomplished within the Growing Our Own Indigenous teacher education project run by Charles Darwin University in five remote Indigenous communities in the Northern Territory, Australia.

Nakata’s (2007b) culturally responsive principles are used as a framework for tailoring evaluation within the teacher education program. These are:

  • the need to focus on the graduates’ capacity to work in complex and changing terrains,
  • the need for curriculum design and evaluation to build on the current capacities and experiences of Indigenous students, and
  • the need to provide stronger support for Indigenous students to ensure they engage more rigorously since the challenges they face need more attention in curriculum and evaluation design.

Strategies are described whereby lecturers ensure that learning, assessment and evaluation strategies for Indigenous perservice teachers reflect their ways of knowing, being and doing, their remote learning context, their world experience, their primary language and their family and community values. These strategies generalise across settings yet might become compromised within the increasing emphasis on nationally consistent standards, and challenge the tendency of teaching primarily to tests rather than to culturally diverse needs found in every classroom.


Published in Full


The Author:

Professor Marguerite Maher