Study Abroad

Program Assessment

The study abroad programs administered through the Institute for Global Studies (IGS) directly support the University's General Education Initiative for undergraduate education to produce “engaged citizens, involved in the world around them, and who understand the major challenges and debates of the day."

Develop an international perspective in order to live and work effectively in an increasingly global society.

In keeping with this goal, IGS has developed more specific, globally-focused learning goals for study abroad programs and requires faculty directors to address in their program proposals how students will meet these goals. Likewise, students participating in UD study abroad programs are required to complete a pre- and post-program assessment instrument. Aggregate change in responses (pre versus post) is being used to measure progress towards these goals during their off-campus experience. Completion of the assessment instrument, with its embedded reflection component, demonstrates a student's fulfillment of UD's Discovery Learning Experience requirement, which is evidenced on the transcript via the 0-credit UNIV 37X pass/fail course (see course syllabus).

In order to gather data on the various impacts of study abroad programs, IGS has developed several research projects since 2003 and continues to be involved in overseas assessment initiatives. These have led to numerous presentations and publications, which can be accessed below:


Global Engagement Measurement Scale (GEMS)

In 2013 a new instrument was developed to better measure students’ acquisition of key intercultural competencies as participants in UD travel study programs. The Global Engagement Measurement Scale (GEMS) was designed as a pre- and post-program instrument to gauge students’ progress in several areas: cultural engagement, enthnorelativism, tolerance for ambiguity, knowledge of host site, diversity acceptance, and resilience. A poster presentation on the development of this measure can be found here, in addition to this informational handout.


Using an Internally-Developed Tool to Assess Intercultural Competence in Short-Term Study Abroad Programs:

This article, written in collaboration with Yuliya Kartoshkina of the University of North Dakota, documents IGS’ process of developing an in-house tool for assessing changes in students’ intercultural competency during study abroad, highlights the advantages and disadvantages of doing so, and explains the most salient findings by comparing respondent groups. Click here to view a related presentation on this topic.

Students' Perceived Impact of Short-Term Programs Abroad
on International Awareness and Activities:

Students' Perceived Impact of Short-Term Programs Abroad on International Awareness and Activities: This study included mostly quantitative data collected from approximately 1500 participants in UD's short-term study abroad programs in 2003 and 2004 and from a control group of approximately 800 students on campus.


Impacts of Short-Term Study Abroad on Listening Comprehension and Motivation:

This study, conducted jointly in 2005 with Dr. Jorge H. Cubillos of UD's Department of Foreign Languages and Literatures, compared 50 students' pre- and post-sojourn scores on a Spanish listening comprehension exam with those of 100 peers taking the same language course on campus. Students also provided pre- and post-course feedback on their motivations for, and attitudes towards, foreign language study. Click here for a summary of results.


Motivations and Differences for First-Year Students Abroad:

This project investigated the short-term study abroad experiences of first-year (freshman) students compared to those of older (sophomore and junior) students, both those studying abroad for the first time and those who also went abroad as freshmen. Over 100 respondents provided quantitative and qualitative data which illuminated reasons for studying abroad, perceived personal growth during time overseas, likelihood of additional sojourns, and more. (Click here for a summary of results.)




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