Title

Study Abroad Field Trip Improves Test Performance through Engagement and New Social Networks

Document Type

Article

Publication Date

2011

Publication Title

Journal of Geography in Higher Education

Volume

35

Issue

4

First Page

513

Last Page

528

DOI

10.1080/03098265.2010.551655

Keywords

Costa Rica, learning outcomes, physical geography, Study abroad, undergraduates

Abstract

Although study abroad trips provide an opportunity for affective and cognitive learning, it is largely assumed that they improve learning outcomes. The purpose of this study is to determine whether a study abroad field trip improved cognitive learning by comparing test performance between the study abroad participants (n = 20) and their peers who did not participate (n = 365). Test performance was statistically identical between these groups before and immediately after the study abroad program. On the final exam, the study abroad participants scored significantly higher. Qualitative methods were used to identify increased engagement with the course material and the creation of new social networks as likely explanations. © 2011 Copyright Taylor and Francis Group, LLC.