In 1999, IES Abroad assembled outstanding leaders in both international and U.S. higher education to address the growing need for more effective program development and assessment in international education. The result of their research and analysis was the IES Abroad Model Assessment Practice for Study Abroad Programs (IES Abroad MAP), the first evaluation tool of its kind.
Today, these guidelines and assessment methods represent best practices in the field of education abroad and now serve as the benchmark for national standards. Based upon our experience sending nearly 6,000 students abroad annually, as well as our work with colleges and universities, we identified additional areas that would benefit from a similar examination and standardization. The resulting guidelines establish standards in language learning, as well as student health and safety.
The complete IES Abroad MAP series is intended to be shared with college and university administrators in international education, faculty, and governing committees that make decisions regarding education abroad for their students.
As a leader in the field since 1950, IES Abroad has always considered rigorous academic quality its highest priority. We developed the original IES Abroad MAP in 1999, due to the growing need for more effective program development and assessment in international education.
IES Abroad MAP task force members are outstanding leaders in both international and U.S. higher education. They created the original IES Abroad MAP by drawing upon extensive site visits and solid data analyses of a wide variety of program components. The result was the first evaluation tool of its kind.
Since its creation, we have been openly sharing the IES Abroad MAP so that it could serve as a model for other study abroad programs.
The IES Abroad MAP provides guidelines for both the standard “hybrid” program model and the direct enrollment program model. For both models, the focus is on four academic areas:
the student learning environment
student learning and the development of intercultural competence
resources for academic and student support
program administration and development
Released in October 2011, the fifth edition reflects recent IES Abroad initiatives in supporting holistic student learning and development abroad, incorporating educational technology in the classroom, and strengthening student services through CORE, Comprehensive Orientation and Reentry.
The IES Abroad MAP remains instrumental in IES Abroad's continual assessment of existing programs and the development of new ones. It is also a useful and beneficial tool for faculty and administrators at U.S. colleges and universities, study abroad professionals, and accrediting organizations, as well as to students and their parents.
Each version of the IES Abroad MAP that we release offers new information, based on the suggestions and requests of study abroad colleagues. We welcome your feedback and encourage you to contact your IES Abroad Representative with any questions you may have.
MAP for Language & Intercultural Communication
Published in October 2011, the IES Abroad MAP for Language & Intercultural Communication is a ground-breaking publication that we believe will set a new standard for study abroad language learning. Written by a task force of 17 language-learning experts from IES Abroad and from international academic institutions worldwide, the easy-to-understand, step-by-step system combines academic classroom instruction with cultural immersion. The result is a holistic approach to language instruction that provides guidelines for students and teachers at each stage of a student’s development.
Through this process of constantly linking language, culture, and environment, students achieve a more powerful proficiency in the language, gain a deeper, more substantive understanding and appreciation for their host country, and have an enriched, life-changing study abroad experience. No other study abroad organization has created such an innovative, advanced, and systematic program for language learning.
For the first time this publication establishes a transparent pedagogy for study abroad language learning programs that home-campus language faculty can use to advise students before they participate in a study abroad program and to assess students post-program. Since learning outcomes are outlined in great detail for each level, you and your students will know exactly what each of our levels comprises, and will be able to make more informed decisions about credit transfer.
The MAP for Language & Intercultural Communication codifies all that we have learned from 60 years of language instruction, while challenging us to further enhance and deepen the way we teach language in locations around the world. It identifies five distinct levels of language and intercultural communication:
Emerging Independent Abroad
Emerging Competent Abroad
Each level of competency includes student goals, teacher strategies, and activities that can be used as guidelines or benchmarks for general skills development. The MAP for Language & Intercultural Communication then identifies distinct ways to enhance the student’s language learning at home, at the IES Abroad Center, and in the community.
All of our Centers use the MAP for Language & Intercultural Communication, and the target learning outcomes and course titles/numbers are harmonized for each language level across all programs.
These enhanced syllabi were reviewed by a subcommittee of the IES Abroad Curriculum Committee in 2013. Faculty have incorporated the MAP for Language & Intercultural Communication in the classroom, and revised course titles and numbers were officially implemented in the 2013-14 academic year.
For an approximate comparison of the language proficiency levels established by IES Abroad, the Common European Framework (CEFR), and the American Council on the Teaching of Foreign Languages (ACTFL), download this chart:
Day-to-day lessons and activities vary by Center and by course in order to provide our language instructors the freedom to utilize resources in the local communities and employ culturally appropriate teaching styles, exposing students to local culture as only possible during study abroad. Visit individual program pages for full course syllabi outlining coursework.
Students' language learning experiences extend far beyond the classroom. Interactions with locals in their homes, at partner universities, on public transportation, in restaurants, and at businesses and cultural sites throughout the city help them develop a greater understanding of the local culture and language. Our faculty and staff provide activities to keep students continually engaged with the community and immersed in the language, and they guide students' language and intercultural skills development by helping them recognize and reflect on these learning opportunities unique to study abroad.
MAP for Student Health, Safety & Crisis Management
Published in October 2013, the IES Abroad MAP for Student Health, Safety & Crisis Management offers a detailed set of guidelines for addressing student safety and crisis management in study abroad programs. It is the third publication in IES Abroad's Model Assessment Practice series.
The author, William P. Hoye, is Executive Vice President, General Counsel, and Chief Operating Officer at IES Abroad. He also manages the IES Abroad Crisis Management Team.
Student health and safety is a prime concern for all international education professionals, parents, and students.
The IES Abroad Map for Health, Safety & Crisis Management sets standards which highlight the importance of student preparation and training before and during their study abroad experience; the critical role of highly trained on-site staff; the value of ongoing local and global risk assessment; and the importance of maintaining U.S. health and safety standards in every country.
The IES Abroad MAP for Student Health, Safety & Crisis Management:
Outlines specific IES Abroad standards for responding to crises and managing student health and safety emergencies
Features “best practices” with respect to responding to crises and handling student health and safety emergencies abroad
Offers a means for others in the study abroad field to adopt these or similar standards, with the goal of enhancing the health and safety of the more than 275,000 U.S. college and university students who study abroad each year.
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