Assessing Civic and Intercultural Competency in Higher Education: The ETS HEIghten® Approach

Ou Lydia Liu, Katrina Crotts Roohr, Joseph A. Rios

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

1 Scopus citations


Economic globalization and interdisciplinary advancements have increased the demand for college graduates to possess transferable skills that would allow them to contribute effectively to the modern workforce. In particular, transferable competencies such as civic competency and intercultural competency are critical for colleges to prepare responsible citizens and productive workers. Despite the recognized importance, the choice and quality of assessment for such competencies have been fairly limited due to the challenges in defining such complex, multidimensional constructs and identifying item types that can adequately assess them. In this report, we describe the principles we followed to operationalize definitions for civic competency and intercultural competency and the process we followed to design assessments for these 2 competencies. Findings from a large-scale pilot test are reported. Results showed that these multidimensional constructs can be adequately assessed and that there is room for students to improve in these areas. Implications for higher education institutions on how to promote these critical competencies are discussed.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1-18
Number of pages18
JournalETS Research Report Series
Issue number1
StatePublished - Dec 1 2018

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2018 Educational Testing Service


  • HEIghten Intercultural Competency and Diversity
  • HEIghten® Civic Competency and Engagement
  • assessment
  • higher education
  • student learning outcomes


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