Negotiating borders between separate male and female workspaces

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference contribution


This paper describes a conference in Saudi Arabia where it is customary for women to cover themselves, showing only face and hands, and to have separate conference rooms. An underlying theme is whether it is possible to have collaborative and a consequential exchange of ideas in a culture that operates differently from standard Western educational practice. The conference, held in Riyadh, was "The First International Conference on Assessment & Evaluation" and the subject was "Admission Criteria in Higher Education." This paper discusses both the different cultural communication practices and the subject matter of the conference, which was global college admissions, problems in teaching dominant languages such as Arabic and English, and writing assessment methods. Four main themes were 1) the controversy surrounding attempts to quantify "non-cogs" (non-cognitive indicators) in the admissions process, 2) descriptions of cultural differences in global college admissions tests, 3) the importance teaching and testing L2 (second languages) by focusing on language as a means of communication rather than a set of rules, and 4) problems in achieving rater consistency in local writing assessments. In conclusion and contrary to Western expectations, the separation of men and women did not inhibit intellectual exchange but instead encouraged it.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publication2013 IEEE International Professional Communication Conference, IPCC 2013
StatePublished - 2013
Event2013 IEEE International Professional Communication Conference, IPCC 2013 - Vancouver, BC, Canada
Duration: Jul 15 2013Jul 17 2013

Publication series

NameIEEE International Professional Communication Conference
ISSN (Print)2158-091X
ISSN (Electronic)2158-1002


Other2013 IEEE International Professional Communication Conference, IPCC 2013
CityVancouver, BC

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • General Engineering
  • Communication


  • Assessment
  • Communication
  • Saudi Arabia
  • Women


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