Study Abroad Learning Outcomes Assessment at SDSU

During the Summer 2015 and Fall 2015 terms, the SDSU Division of Undergraduate Studies (DUS) led a pilot study to assess SDSU student learning outcomes from study abroad, using the Global Perspectives Inventory (GPI). The GPI was chosen due to the positive feedback about the instrument from colleagues at aspirational peer institutions. The pilot was funded by DUS and the SDSU International Student Center (ISC). The survey was sent to 200 randomly selected SDSU study abroad participants before and after Summer 2015 programs, and then to 200 randomly selected SDSU study abroad participants before and after Fall 2015 programs. Once data were collected, the spring semester was spent analyzing the data.

Results of Pilot: The GPI questions are categorized into three dimensions: Cognitive, Intrapersonal and Interpersonal (More information about the GPI dimensions). Using a 90% confidence interval, there was statistically significant growth from pre-test to post-test along the cognitive and intrapersonal dimensions of the GPI for both summer and fall samples (t-test, Proportional odds, p<0.10). Among fall students, there was also statistically significant growth along the interpersonal dimension (t-test, Proportional odds, p<0.10). When compared nationally to other GPI respondents, SDSU students in both short-term and long-term do the same or better than the national averages on identity development, and especially long-term students make lots of progress with interpersonal skills. Our sample sizes, especially in the fall, were too small to draw definitive conclusions.

Next Steps & Goals for 2016-17: With funding from DUS and the ISC, we have launched a comprehensive GPI study for 2016-17. We have added 10 SDSU-specific questions to complement the Likert scale questions already included in the GPI. In addition to the pre-test and post-test before and after the study abroad experience, we will be surveying a control group (students who don't study abroad), as well as sending a second post-test to the study abroad students one year after their return.