Program Evaluation in Virtual Exchange
The Initiative hosted its second in a series of webinars designed to help educators and practitioners that are starting and conducting virtual exchange programs. Project Director Jen Laird and Senior Research Associate Christina Stearns from RTI International shared lessons learned and advice based on RTI’s work as the Initiative’s evaluation partner. In addition to explaining the Initiative’s overall evaluation plan, they presented some of the good practices, challenges, and decision points that have emerged from the Initiative’s grantee program. See above the video recording of the session.
We asked our colleagues at RTI International to answer a few questions that we ran out of time to answer during the presentation. Interested in learning more about evaluation methods for virtual exchange? Check out some resources they shared in the box on the right side.
Thanks to those of you who attended the webinar. Fill out the Contact Us form to ensure you are signed up for the Initiative’s announcements, including invitations to future webinars, or to let us know if there are any topics you would like to see us cover.
And many thanks to Jen, Christina, and RTI for an informative presentation!
Q: How might you measure empathy? Is this something that can be quantified?
A: There are a number of self-report survey instruments that are designed to measure empathy. Part of our work with the Stevens Initiative recently has been exploring which measures are the best fit for awardee virtual exchange programs. This report from ETS lists some commonly used instruments to measure intercultural competence, including empathy; it might serve as a useful starting point for exploring existing measures. This website also lists a number of scales, including some (such as the Interpersonal Reactivity Index) that measure empathy or related constructs.
Q: Assigning a unique ID to students through an online survey can be difficult. Besides creating a roster and training teachers on how to ‘attach’ a unique ID, what are some other tips you can offer to have a unique ID be included in a student survey?
A: Most online survey platforms will allow you to automatically attach a unique ID to surveys (e.g. they can provide unique links for each participant). If that function is not available for some reason, one option is to ask participants to generate their own unique ID with some combination of biographical letters/numbers (e.g. birth month + first three letters of last name). When choosing how to construct the ID, it’s important to make sure that it is something that participants will report consistently each time they take a survey.