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  • Writer's pictureKrista Bontrager

Using the Intercultural Development Inventory

Theologian, Krista Bontrager, discusses the Intercultural Development Inventory (IDI) a popular assessment tool, with Dr. Heather Peterson, Associate Professor of English and Literature.

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Discussion with Dr. Heather Peterson

You thought we were done with the show for the year! Not so!

This is a special episode Krista recorded as a sort of follow-up to a recent episode regarding Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (DEI) Programs within Christian Universities. You can find that episode here:

In this episode, we will be talking about the Intercultural Development Inventory, which is a tool used in higher education (including Christian higher education), Christian ministries, and churches.

The guest today is Dr. Heather Peterson, an Assistant Professor at a Christian University in the English and Literature Department. Dr. Peterson became familiar with the IDI after completing the inventory herself and after extensive research on the inventory. She wrote an article do describe her conclusions (linked below).

First of all, what is the IDI?

The Intercultural Development Inventory (IDI), is a 50-point multiple choice assessment. It is supposed to measure where you are on an intercultural development continuum. The continuum starts at polarization/ mono-cultural, work its way up to intercultural mindsets

According to the IDI website, the tool has positioned itself to be "the premier cross-culturally valid assessment for building cultural competence in your school or organization."

Although the tool is backed by scholars and research, the question we need to ask is: Is this really the neutral measuring tool that it claims to be?

Dr. Peterson says: NO! It is NOT neutral.

It comes from a framework called "Constructivism," which is the idea that as we interact with others, we all have our perceptions of reality and we gain our perceptions from other people in those interactions. There is some truth to this, but the issue is that there is no confident knowledge in reality. This means there are no objective values and no transcendent values that we can all agree on.

What kinds of people are using this inventory? And why are they using it?

On the surface, empathy is good,

This tool is widely used among Christian organizations. What is so appealing? It is part of a set-up...the more you deny the issue, the more there appears to be a real problem.


Dr. Peterson's Articles:

Direct link to the actual Intercultural Development Inventory (IDI):

More from Dr. Peterson


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