Study Abroad Learning Outcomes Assessment at SDSU

During the summer 2015 and fall 2015 terms, the SDSU Division of Academic Engagement & Student Achievement (DAESA) led a pilot study to assess SDSU student learning outcomes from study abroad, using the Global Perspectives Inventory (GPI). This project grew out of an initiative from SDSU’s Office of International Programs (OIP) to assess the quality of international programs, consistent with the practices of leading universities across the nation. The GPI was chosen due to the positive feedback about the instrument from colleagues at aspirational peer institutions. The pilot was funded by DAESA 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 (2015): 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 summer and fall semester do the same or better than the national averages on identity development, and especially long-term students make lots of progress with interpersonal skills. However, sample sizes, especially in the fall, were too small to draw definitive conclusions.

Comprehensive GPI Implementation with One-year Follow-up (2016-2018): With funding from DAESA and the ISC, a comprehensive GPI study began in fall 2016. All terms were included, and 10 SDSU-specific questions were added to complement the Likert scale questions already included in the GPI. Finally, a comparison group of non-study abroad participants was also surveyed. Students in short-term and mid-length (semester) programs showed statistically significant growth on three of the six GPI scales: Knowledge, Identity, and Affect. In addition, students in mid-length programs showed statistically significant growth on the Social Responsibility and the Social Interaction Scales. Students in the comparison group showed no significant growth on any of the six GPI scales. Moreover, students in the comparison group showed losses on the Knowing and Affect Scales.

Global Century Project (2018-2020):  In 2017, SDSU was chosen as one of three U.S. universities to participate in the nationwide Global Century Project (GCP). The GCP is funded by the U.S. Department of Education and is administered by Iowa State University. The project, which runs from 2018-2020, will assess the effectiveness of global competence and how well international, global and cross-cultural programming promotes positive learning outcomes. Initial results will be available in Spring 2020.