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ACE/FIPSE Project on Assessing International Learning

December 30, 1899


​​Conducted in 2004-2007, the ACE/FIPSE project, “Lessons Learned in Assessing International Learning,” engaged 6 U.S. higher education institutions to develop a set of internationally-focused student learning outcomes, measurable performance indicators, and tools for assessing student achievement. 

The outcome of the project was the “SPIF/ePortfolio Approach to Assessing International Learning,” which requires students to compile an ePortfolio of internationally-focused work and complete a survey called the Student Portfolio and Information Form (SPIF). Taken together, these 2 tools can be used by institutions to better understand the connections between student experiences and the learning that results from them.



The ePortfolio consists of samples of an individual student’s work, and is assessed holistically based on the extent to which it illustrates student achievement of internationally-focused learning outcomes. Each institution determines how to assemble the ePorfolios (e.g. using open source software designed for this purpose), and what elements students are required to submit.  These may include:

  • Essays
  • Journal entries
  • Study abroad application essays
  • Study abroad return reflection essays
  • Photographs or other artwork with a narrative explanation
  • Videos of interviews or student performances
  • Audio that demonstrates foreign language competency

The ACE/FIPSE team created a standardized rating scale to assess ePortfolios based on the 9 internationally-focused student learning outcomes developed by the institutions participating in the project. Evaluators are asked to rate the students' demonstration of each criterion by using a 1-4 scale, with one being "inadequate" and 4 being "extensive."

Student Portfolio and Information Form (SPIF)

In conjunction with compiling an ePortfolio, students complete the Student Portfolio Information Form (SPIF), which asks various student demographic and institution-specific questions.

Section I asks students to list the name and source of items in the ePortfolio. This allows students to reflect on the elements they are selecting for their ePortfolio, and assists them in including elements that address all learning outcomes.

Section II includes background information on the student, such as age, marital status, and citizenship. The results of these questions can be compared in aggregate to ePortfolio ratings, to see how students with different backgrounds and experiences are performing.

Section III can be tailored to institution-specific questions. These questions can be about institution-specific courses or study abroad programs, in order to look more closely at the impact of these programs.


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