The Challenges of Assessing across Languages and Cultures

Assessment Research Centre Seminar

Presented by Dr Stanley Rabinowitz, General Manager Assessment & Reporting, ACARA, Honorary Enterprise Professor, Assessment Research Centre

The validity of assessments across students differing in native language and culture can be problematic. One solution often advocated is to translate assessments into students’ native language. Arguments for such translations and the challenges of doing so are discussed. A conceptual framework to guide whether translations to native languages are likely to be valid and accessible is presented.


Dr Stanley Rabinowitz commenced his role as General Manager for Assessment and Reporting at the Australian Curriculum, Assessment and Reporting Authority (ACARA) in July 2014. Some of his key responsibilities involve managing the national assessment programs (NAPLAN and NAP sample), national data reporting, including the My School website, and utilising his experience to launch NAPLAN online in Australia in 2017. Dr Rabinowitz has joined ACARA after serving as Senior Program Director of WestEd’s Assessment & Standards Development Services (ASDS), a program of national scope with more than 100 staff throughout the USA. In that role, he served as Director of the national Center for Standards and Assessments Implementation (CSAI) and the Smarter Balanced Assessment Consortium Project Management Partner (PMP).

Dr Rabinowitz has consulted extensively on standards, assessment and school/educator accountability issues with researchers, policymakers and assessment staff at national, state and district levels in the USA. Through his involvement in more than a dozen state and national technical advisory committees and the role he served in the CSAI, Dr Rabinowitz is very familiar with the standards and assessment system challenges and constraints faced by states and districts. He also has experience in supporting states as they design and implement new standards, assessment and accountability systems. Dr Rabinowitz was also a member of the Common Core State Standards national validation committee. Prior to joining WestEd, Dr Rabinowitz served as State Assessment Director for the New Jersey Department of Education.

Dr Rabinowitz received his PhD in Educational Psychology and Statistics from the State University of New York at Albany, New York, USA.