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Assessing Study Abroad


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About the Author

Victor Savicki is Professor of Psychology, Emeritus, at Western Oregon University. His recent research has focused on stress, coping and adjustment in cross-cultural settings. He has participated in a variety of study abroad programs both as an instructor and a researcher.

Elizabeth Brewer is Director, International Education, at Beloit College.


"One nice feature of this book is that it offers an inside view of ways study abroad administrators can assess their programs. The process is seldom clean or clear-cut, and sometimes the data do not generate the results hoped for. I particularly liked the way Savicki and Price described the development of an in-house assessment tool at Wesleyan University in Chapter 12. That tool can be adapted for use at other institutions freely if proper citations are made. This is welcome because many commercial assessment tools such as the BEVI, GPI, and IDI cost over $20 per participant
(Roy, Wandschneider, & Steglitz, 2012) - a figure that may be beyond the budget range of some schools.

Another nice feature of this book is that it introduces a wide range of theoretical concepts. Although few of these are explained in detail, proactive readers will be able to find more information about unfamiliar ideas and terminology elsewhere. In particular, I felt Saunders, Hogan, and Olson's discussion of a "backward design" assessment process in Chapter 4 was helpful. The final overview of study abroad assessment resources by Brewer was also useful." "Assessing Study Abroad has the advantage of offering an in-depth comparison of how nine institutions evaluate their study abroad programs. If you are fairly new to the field of educational assessment and hoping to garner a range of different ideas about how to evaluate the international programs at your school, Saviki and Brewer's book is worth reading. If, however, you are looking for a more practical 'cookbook' approach to assessing study abroad outcomes, perhaps Deardorff's Demystifying Outcomes Assessment for International Educators: A Practical Approach (2015) might be more useful. That volume offers many handouts, worksheets, and practical ideas for administrators wanting to evaluate their programs. Then again, if you are interested in larger issues of program design and how to optimize pedagogical interventions in addition to assessment issues, I believe that Berg, Paige, and Lou's Student Learning Abroad: What Our Students Are Learning, What They're Not (2012) is certainly worth a read. Since more and more financial resources are being devoted to study abroad at many institutions around the world, study abroad advisors and program directors should probably become acquainted with each of these books."-- (09/01/2016)

"This book on assessment of study abroad [is] timely and relevant. Its framework promotes an institutional approach to assessing study abroad, with advice about and examples of how to embed effective assessment strategies into the workings of a college, university, or education abroad organization. Each chapter presents practical guidance on the many aspects of study abroad assessment that can be approached through a collaborative model of shared responsibility and commitment to benefit all constituents.

This book is distinctive in that it includes both theoretical perspectives from assessment experts, and concrete examples from practitioners who have been involved with different aspects of study abroad assessment. The fact that most of these practitioners are not experts in assessment should inspire other study abroad professionals to develop and sustain their own assessment efforts at their institutions in order to make study abroad a more robust vehicle for student learning and development. This type of wisdom and experience informs the guidance offered in this book, leading to several qualities that readers will appreciate. First it is written by colleagues who are already doing study abroad assessment at multiple levels of experience and expertise and is therefore relevant for everyone in the field. Second, the theory and methodology are aimed specifically at study abroad, and therefore require no translation from an academic discipline to the study abroad field. Third, the book demonstrates many different approaches to tackling the real challenges and problems that assessment brings by discussing and analyzing both successful projects and the many bumps and pitfalls along the way that lead eventually to success. Finally, this book, unlike other books on assessment, is approachable to practitioners in the field because it explains ideas and methods clearly in clear, jargon free language with plenty of concrete examples to elucidate its points."-- (07/01/2015)

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