Study Abroad
The Assessment of Cultural Intelligence 

Project Director: Dr. Peter Ecke (U Arizona)

Description: Study abroad has become an increasingly important part in students’ development of language and cultural skills. A key outcome of study abroad is learning about the other culture and the development of “cultural intelligence” which is understood here as “the ability to engage in a set of behaviors that uses skills (i.e., language or interpretational skills) and qualities (e.g., tolerance for ambiguity, flexibility) that are tuned appropriately to the culture-based values and attitudes of the people with whom one interacts (Peterson, 2004, p. 89).” To date, few instruments exist to assess gains in cultural intelligence during study abroad.

With research beginning in late 2012, the project will address the need for ready-to use, easily adaptable instruments and tasks to assess students’ development of cultural intelligence during study abroad.

Peterson’s concept of “cultural intelligence” which encompasses three main components (2004, p. 13): a) knowledge about cultures (facts and cultural traits), b) awareness (of oneself and others) and c) specific skills (behaviors) will provide the framework to develop these instruments. The assessment instruments will include questionnaires, learner portfolios/journals, and simulation games in which learners analyze and resolve critical incidents that frequently occur during study abroad.

Study Abroad Project Website