Publication Date

1998

Abstract

This Capstone Paper attempted to answer the following question: how are the intercultural competencies as they are proposed in the WorldLearning, Inc./SIT Intercultural Competency Checklist at the present time evaluated in the College Semester Abroad (CSA), Tanzania Wildlife Ecology and Conservation program (Tze). The study includes a review of institutional documents and program guidelines as well as an overview of existing literature concerning Intercultural Competence and evaluation and assessment. Assessment instruments and interviews were used to gain insight into students’ learning outcome and processes of both academic and culture learning. For example, interviews with local program staff about students intercultural competence learning were conducted to provide input by host nationals. The study suggests that most of the proposed competencies on the Intercultural Competency Checklist are evaluated in the Tze program. However, the competencies are not stated as learning objectives and there are no evaluation criteria for them. Furthermore, the study raises the issue of what kind of qualification is needed to be able to evaluate the intercultural competencies. For example, are all Academic Directors equally well-qualified to evaluate cultural learning? Are the students able to evaluate themselves? Evaluation of the competencies is not recorded and made public, e.g. by being included into the final grade report each student receive. It was revealed that some discrepancies between evaluation guidelines as they stated in the Academic Director (AD) Handbook and practice exist, and that there is a lack of clear course evaluation criteria in the students’ syllabus and the AD Handbook. The study concludes that the CSA, Tze Program is presently, though not officially, evaluating the much-debated personal learning that is just one outcome of study abroad participation. However, it is questionable whether the evaluation is reliable and consistent. Finally, the Capstone Paper suggests several practical recommendations directed toward the CSA department, the Intercultural Communicative Competencies Task Force, and the Tanzania program itself.

Disciplines

International and Comparative Education

Share

 
COinS