Fostering Intercultural Competence among Youth. A Focus on Measurement.
Maria Magdalena Isac

About the research


NAEd/Spencer Postdoctoral Fellowship

Award Year



Katholieke Universiteit Leuven

Primary Discipline

Comparative Education
The increasing worldwide migration is driving the growing cultural diversity of student populations. The development of intercultural competence is valued as a crucial tool for countering extreme worldviews, intolerance and discrimination and contribute to sustainable democratic societies. Schools are important arenas for training intercultural competence particularly during adolescence when such competences are malleable; international organizations such as the European Union, the United Nations and the OECD emphasize the importance of culturally inclusive educational approaches. However, little research has empirically examined intercultural competence and culturally inclusive educational approaches in young people (i.e., adolescents) and within school settings. In particular, research in European contexts involving valid and reliable measurement instruments and large nationally representative samples of adolescents is lacking. This project builds on knowledge from several fields and aims to develop, adapt and validate two multifaceted measurement instruments of intercultural competence and classroom cultural diversity climate. I draw on newly available data on a large sample of young people (14- year- old) in a European country (i.e., Italy). This research will generate new and reliable measurement instruments and solid empirical evidence, adding significantly to current research on intercultural competence, culturally inclusive educational approaches and interculturality in culturally diverse school settings.
About Maria Magdalena Isac
Maria Magdalena (Magda) Isac is a Researcher at the Centre for Political Science Research of the KU Leuven, Belgium. Prior to this assignment, she was a researcher on citizenship education and educational effectiveness at the University of Groningen, The Netherlands, and she held research positions on the same topics at the European Commission and the University of Bologna. Her work focuses on the comparative evaluation of school systems, with an emphasis on understanding how different formal and informal educational approaches and teaching practices contribute to young people’s citizenship learning and citizenship competences. She has developed consultancy projects for the International Large-Scale Assessments Unit of the Italian Institute for the Evaluation of the Education System (INVALSI), UNESCO, the Council of Europe, the ministry of education from Mexico and UNICEF. She is frequently participating in international forums of discussion to reflect on results from research on citizenship education and their implications for educational policy and practice.Magda received her Ph.D. in Behavioural and Social Sciences from the University of Groningen in the Netherlands. She holds a M.Sc. in Research and Evaluation of Educational Effectiveness from the University of Groningen as well as a Master in Policy and Management in Education and a Bachelor in Educational Sciences, both from the Alexandru Ioan Cuza University of Iasi in Romania.

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