Assessing Language Acquisition and Intercultural Sensitivity Development in Relation to Study Abroad Program Design
Keywords:Intercultural sensitivity, Study Abroad, Program Design, Second Language Acquisition
The complexity of international education is such that it is far from easy to move towards significant, objectively measurable, and comparable outcomes. What follows is the preliminary examination of one attempt to generate and interpret meaningful statistical assessment of the study abroad experience, within the context of specifically defined study abroad program types. We will examine the data thus far generated, suggest its limitations, and appeal for a continued gathering of information. We will suggest a structured, coordinated, profession-wide assessment effort that will, we hope, gradually reveal a useful correlation between study abroad learning and the input of program variables such as duration, housing, experiential work and on-site mentoring. If, as a profession, study abroad is to invest in outcomes assessment, it would be sensible for such efforts to utilize profession-wide definitions and standards.