Assessment for Equity

Over the past few decades, assessment for learning (AFL) has taken root in education policies globally. However, much of the literature has been driven by Western researchers; so the question arises… are the principles of assessment for learning accessible to all students, especially those who have been historically underrepresented?

This program embarks on an insightful exploration of this question by examining assessment for learning through various cultural lenses. We acknowledge that we have chosen to use ‘cultural lenses’ as an entry point into the conversation, with the understanding that the foundation of this work must be intersectionality. We recognize that each one of us has individual identities that intersect in unique ways. We also know that all phobias and isms impact how we are viewed, understood and treated. We seek to uncover, together, how we might best design assessments that value the learning of every unique learner in our classrooms.

This fully online, cohort-based program will first frame the idea of culture itself, then consider the inherent values and bias within Western-influenced assessment practices. It will feature guest scholars and thought leaders who will engage in thought-provoking discussions about how assessment for learning aligns or conflicts with a range of diverse cultures and equity-deserving identities.

Guest Scholars & Practitioners

Learn more about each of them by clicking on the “Guest Speakers” tab below.


Big Ideas

  • Assessment can be used as a tool for oppression and used to divide.
  • Assessment approaches are value laden. Understanding the values both in our own assessment practices and those from other cultures enables us to be more inclusive and effective as practitioners.
  • Characterizing learning approaches as culturally based is problematic as it minimizes local diversity and variations within groups. However, some generalizations can be helpful for practitioners in designing learning for the students in the room.
  • A “both/and” perspective invites innovation into our practice.
  • Unexamined bias about how people from cultures other than our own engage in learning can impact our classroom practice and relationships with families in unhelpful and harmful ways.


There will be 7 online synchronous sessions held from 4:30-6:00pm PT on the below dates.

Date Guest Scholar Guest Practitioner
October 24, 2024 Carolyn Roberts
November 7, 2024 Jo Chrona TBA
November 28, 2024 Christine Ho Younghusband Rosalind Poon
Dececember 12, 2024 Sukaina Walji Gurpreet Kaur Bains
January 23, 2025 Mohammed Rustom TBA
February 6, 2025 Jade Caines Lee Nikitha Fester
February 20, 2025 Liz Kleinrock

Guest Speakers

Synchronous sessions will include guest scholars.

October 24

Carolyn Roberts uses her voice to support Indigenous resurgence through education. She is a St’at’imc and Sto:lo woman belonging to the Thevarge family from N'quatqua Nation and the Kelly Family from the Tzeachten Nation and under the Indian act a member of the Squamish Nation. Carolyn is a Speaker, Author, Indigenous academic, and Assistant Professor working in the Teacher Education. She has been an educator and administrator for over 20 years in the K-12 system. Carolyn’s work is grounded in educating about Indigenous people and the decolonization of the education system. She works with pre-service teachers to help build their understandings in Indigenous history, education, and ancestral ways of knowing, to create a brighter future for all Indigenous people and the seven generations yet to come.

November 7

Jo Chrona is a speaker, education consultant, Indigenous education advocate, and author of Wayi Wah! Indigenous Pedagogies: An Act for Reconciliation and Anti-Racist Education (2022). Jo is Ganhada of Waap K’oom and is a member of the Kitsumkalum First Nation, a Ts'msyen community in British Columbia, and also has European ancestry. She currently lives on Salt Spring Island, traditional territories of the W̱SÁNEĆ (Tsawout) and Quw’utsun.

Jo’s professional experience includes over 25 years teaching in both the K-12 and post-secondary systems in BC, working as a Policy Analyst and Curriculum Manager for the First Nations Education Steering Committee (FNESC), an Advisor to the BC Ministry of Education, and a Faculty Associate in SFU’s Teacher Education Program.

Jo has also been involved in curriculum development and resource writing, professional learning through inquiry networks, and Indigenous education. She participated in various aspects of educational transformation in BC’s K-12 system and development of Indigenous education policies, as well as managed and contributed to the development of authentic Indigenous teacher resource guides. She is currently exploring the connections between Indigenous-informed pedagogies and authentic assessment.

Jo has a Bachelor of Arts from SFU, a Diploma of Education from UBC, and Master’s Degree in Educational Technology from UBC.

Jo is passionate about helping create systemic change in K- 12 education systems to help create truly inclusive, high-quality, strength-based education experiences for all learners. She currently consults and provides professional learning sessions that focus on the intersections of Indigenous education and anti-racism.

November 28

Christine is a second-generation Chinese Canadian woman who was born and raised in Prince Rupert, B.C.. Christine completed a BSc in chemistry with a concentration in mathematics at UBC then a BEd degree in secondary education. She started her teaching career in Sechelt, B.C. and taught primarily secondary mathematics. Christine completed her MEd degree from SFU in curriculum and instruction while teaching full-time in public schools, then left the practice to pursue a doctoral degree in educational leadership from SFU. During that time, Christine was elected as a school trustee and served two terms in addition to 3-years on the BCSTA Board of Directors. Christine developed curriculum with the Ministry of Education, First Nations Education Steering Committee (FNESC), and OpenEd BC. In 2017, Christine completed her dissertation titled, "The Professional Learning Experiences of Non-Mathematics Subject Specialist Teachers: A Descriptive Study.” She taught at SFU and St. Mark’s College at UBC as a sessional instructor, then joined UNBC in the Fall of 2018 with the School of Education.

At UNBC, Christine played an active role in the BEd Program Redesign and MEd Program Redesign Committees in 2019/2020 and currently enjoys being a member of Senate to participate in university governance. Christine’s research interests include policy and practice, teaching and learning, mathematics education, professional learning, subject matter acquisition, and culture and mathematics. She teaches in both undergraduate and graduate level courses in education. Christine loves to learn and motivated by putting what is learned into action. In her teaching practice, she is currently exploring portfolios, land-based learning, and community-based learning (and action research). Christine engaged in unique teaching and learning opportunities such as “in situ” learning, interweaving portfolios, and anti-racist curriculum as part of the redesigned BEd program implementation and relationships built with the K-12 community.

Rosalind Poon has been a lead learner with the Richmond School District for the past 24 years.  She is currently a school leader at a secondary school.  Through her work as a teacher, consultant and school-based educational leader, she has developed a strong interest in examining how assessment practices are equitable and can be used to build students up so that they can be more confident, resilient and reflective about their own learning.  Rosalind looks forward to learning alongside the Assessment for Equity Community.

December 12

Gurpreet Kaur Bains is an award-winning educator, keynote speaker, educational consultant and a cultural facilitator with 24 years of teaching experience. She is the Modern languages Lead Learner at LA Matheson Secondary School with Surrey School District. Her teaching areas include Punjabi language, Science and Special Education. Gurpreet embodies her beliefs in nurturing students' sense of identity and amplifying their voices and agency around culture, all through Punjabi Language instruction. She has closely worked with the Ministry of Education on curriculum development and helped mentor new Science/Language teachers as a School Associate. She has facilitated and served as an educational consultant with "Being -Punjabi: Unfolding the Surrey Story" feature exhibition with the Museum of Surrey. She is the facilitator and co-curriculum writer for the District's Next Hundred Year Mentorship Program which focuses on mentorship through identity. This program helps students to explore subjects such as inclusion, racism, identity, resilience, belonging, and prejudice. Gurpreet is also the co-founder and facilitator of Dhahan Youth Punjabi Literature Award in creative writing for BC Punjabi language students. Gurpreet strongly believes that cultural collaborations between educators and community stakeholders helps strengthen the sense of identity. This is highlighted with her partnerships with a diverse group of community partners which has helped in fostering multigenerational engagement and robust communities.

Sukaina Walji is the Director of the Centre for Innovation in Learning and Teaching at the University of Cape Town, South Africa. She promotes and supports the development of inclusive and equitable teaching, learning and assessment experiences that respond to diverse student and teachers’ needs underpinned by social justice. She provides strategic advice for senior leadership for deploying digital education and educational innovations that contribute to student success. Her current research interests include inclusive assessment practices and responsible approaches to artificial intelligence in education. She is also a co-organiser and facilitator of MYFEST, a global open education and professional development festival that intentionally creates spaces that feel welcoming to all, especially those furthest from justice. Sukaina has a background in digital communications and developing open online courses as well as researching open educational practices in Global South contexts.

January 23

Mohammed Rustom is Professor of Islamic Thought and Global Philosophy at Carleton University and Director of the Carleton Centre for the Study of Islam. He has been the recipient of a number of academic distinctions and prizes such as the Ibn ‘Arabi Society Latina’s Tarjuman Prize, a Templeton Foundation Global Philosophy of Religion grant, The Institute of Ismaili Studies’ Annemarie Schimmel Fellowship, Iran’s World Prize for the Book of the Year, and Senior Fellowships courtesy of the NYU Abu Dhabi Institute’s Library of Arabic Literature and Humanities Research Fellowship programs.

An internationally recognized scholar whose works have been translated into over ten languages, Professor Rustom’s research focuses on Islamic philosophy, Arabic and Persian Sufi literature, Quranic exegesis, translation theory, and cross-cultural philosophy. He is author of The Triumph of Mercy: Philosophy and Scripture in Mulla Sadra (SUNY Press, 2012), co-editor of The Study Quran: A New Translation and Commentary (HarperOne, 2015), and translator of Abu Hamid al-Ghazali, The Condemnation of Pride and Self-Admiration (Islamic Texts Society, 2018).

Dr. Rustom’s more recent books include Inrushes of the Heart: The Sufi Philosophy of ‘Ayn al-Qudat (SUNY Press, 2023), The Essence of Reality: A Defense of Philosophical Sufism (NYU Press, 2022), and A Sourcebook in Global Philosophy (Equinox, in press)

Professor Rustom is also Editor of Equinox Publishing’s Global Philosophy series and Editorial Board member of the Library of Arabic Literature (NYU Press).

February 6

Jade Caines Lee, PhD, is an Assistant Research Professor at the University of Kansas’ Achievement and Assessment Institute. She leads the Equity and Assessment area within the Center for Learner Agency Research and Action. She is also founder and CEO of JCRG LLC, an educational consulting firm which assists clients with educational research, measurement, and evaluation needs, as well as educational program development and professional development, for over a decade. She has been a career educator, teaching P-12, undergraduate, graduate students and life-long learners for over 20 years. She has presented and published in the areas of validity, classroom assessment, evaluation research, and fairness issues in the educational measurement field, and in the areas of evaluation and intervention research that aims to improve teaching and learning for marginalized people.

A UBC alum, Nikitha teaches and works towards truth and reconciliation on the unceded and traditional territories of the Musqueam, Tsleil-Waututh and Squamish People. Recently, she completed her Master of Social Justice and Equity education through the University of Western Ontario. This learning venture reinforced her focus on criticality and joy as necessary components to anti-racist and inclusive education. During her career, Nikitha has successfully piloted district learning programs focused on Black Canadian History, supported the first UBC Black Futures program, and contributed to a Black Peoples’ History of Canada, among other local and national projects. She has equally been engaged in supporting pre- and in-service teachers in the areas of anti-racism, anti-oppression, and inclusive classroom practice. However, she is most proud of her efforts to diversify representation in her French Immersion classroom and the creation of two school based clubs – FemmInAction and X.Block. FemmInAction is a leadership club for Femme students focussed on community building and shifting school culture and X.Block is a mentorship program for Black youth. Both in and out of the classroom, Nikitha is focussed on empowering students and teachers to be joyful, critical, and engaged.

February 20

Liz Kleinrock (she/her) is an award winning educator and best selling author, as well as a Korean-American transracial adoptee, queer, Jewish woman. In 2018, Liz received the Teaching Tolerance Award for Excellence in Teaching, and in 2019 delivered her TED Talk, “How to teach kids to talk about taboo topics." In the spring of 2021, Liz released her first book, Start Here, Start Now: A Guide to Antibias and Antiracist Work in Your School Community with Heinemann Publishing, and is excited to share the publication of four children's books with HarperCollins. She currently works as Director of Diversity, Equity, Inclusion and Belonging at a pre-k through middle school, and resides in Washington DC with her partner, cat, and two bunnies.


Deena Kotak Buckley

(she/her/elle) lives and works on the ancestral and unceded lands of the xʷməθkʷəy̓əm (Musqueam), Sḵwxwú7mesh Úxwumixw (Squamish Nation) & səlilwətaɬ (Tsleil-Waututh Nation). She started her career in education in 1995 and has served as a Teacher, Vice-Principal, Principal, District Principal and Director of Instruction for public education, in Surrey, Vancouver and Hong Kong. She has been on multiple district and ministry committees in support of inclusive education and anti-racism. She completed her undergraduate degrees in French and French as a Second Language and has a Diploma and Masters degree in Inclusive Education; focusing on inclusion and the law. Deena recently completed a Doctorate in Education looking at building human-centered organizations based on the ethic of community, principles of co-design and grassroots methodology. Deena hopes to bring her personal and professional experience to this program and co-learn through a framework of cultural humility.


Brooke Moore

(she/her/elle) lives and works on the traditional unceded territory of the sc̓əwaθən (Tsawwassen) and xʷməθkʷəy̓əm (Musqueam) and of all the Hən̓q̓əmin̓əm speaking people who have been in relationship with this land since time immemorial. She is a parent, the District Principal of Inquiry and Innovation in the Delta School District, and Adjunct Professor at the University of British Columbia. Throughout these roles, both professional and personal, she is motivated by a vision where all young people can move into adulthood with dignity, purpose, and options. She learned this vision from the Network of Inquiry and Indigenous Education which has been a rich source of learning, support, and collaboration throughout her career. Her first trade book, co-authoured with Robin Gregory, will be published by Cambridge University Press in early 2024 and is called "Sorting it out: Supporting teenage decision making".


Synchronous sessions will include guest scholars..



The program fee is $850 + GST.

Discounts may be available for group registrations. Please contact Sarah Lockman at for more details.

Secure Payment

Payment is made through the secure UBC online payment gateway via credit card or accepted Interac cards (BMO, RBC, ScotiaBank, TD CanadaTrust). Please note, we are unable to accept Visa Debit cards.

If your school district is financially supporting your participation, we can also invoice them directly. Please contact us if this is the case.

Deadline to register is September 15, 2024

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