This paper discusses two distinct but complementary frameworks for evaluating the results of internationalization: the performance of institutions and student learning outcomes. Written by Madeleine F. Green, former vice president at American Council on Education, and current senior fellow at the National Association of International Educators (NAFSA) and at the International Association of Universities, this 26-page e-publication asserts that institutions can and should work on these frameworks simultaneously and use them to inform each other. Multiple sources of reference for this are given throughout the paper.
Green contends that whatever the array of goals selected by an institution, enhancing student learning should feature prominently. The challenge is to create an approach that integrates multiple dimensions, measures, and assessment tools to accurately reflect the contributions of internationalization. She also creates a terminology for professionals both inside and outside the United States to clearly understand the complex concepts by using different units of analysis: measuring, metrics, and indicators.
Green's paper concentrates on the centrality of institutional performance and student learning. She recommends that institutions can and should work on these concurrently and use them to inform each other. The paper stresses that defining institutional success in internationalization depends on the goals identified; some metrics will be more important than others at each institution. Whatever the array of goals selected, enhancing student learning should feature prominently as one of them. There is no doubt, she argues, that assessing student learning is the more challenging of the two measurement frameworks and the least rewarded in terms of prestige and rankings, but that does not negate its importance as a measure of institutional quality.
Measuring and assessing internationalization outcomes and impact will take on greater importance as they continue to become more central to the definition of quality in teaching, research, and engagement. In Green's view, the challenge is for institutions to create a manageable and meaningful approach that looks at multiple dimensions, using multiple measures and assessment tools to reflect the contributions of internationalization in all its richness and complexity.
This document is one of several new Web-based resources called NAFSA e-Publications. E-Publications offer special features including Web pages, downloadable and printable PDFs, and customized tools.