It has been a busy day at the Forum Conference – the exhibit hall was open today and sessions were in full swing. Needless to say, it has been an exciting and long day!
I’ll focus on a session that I attended this afternoon: “Latest Developments from the Forum BEVI Project: From Theory and Data to Real World Application and Research.” I was able to sit in on a discussion group with Dr. Craig Shealy from the International Beliefs and Values Institute.
You may have heard about The Forum BEVI Project, a pilot which assesses the processes and outcomes of international learning (e.g. who learns what and why, and under what circumstances.)
BEVI (Beliefs, Events, and Values Inventory) was developed since the early 1990s. This tool helps people understand better what they believe and value about themselves, others, and the world at large, and how such beliefts and values may – or may not – be conducive to learning, personal growth, relationships, and the pursuit of life goals. The tool is administered prior to study abroad and then upon re-entry – indicating whether there has been a shift in beliefs and values. Note that Dr. Shealy made it very clear that BEVI does not see answers as right/wrong – it simple measures the shift in the beliefs and values.
Dr. Shealy shared some particulary interesting thoughts:
– using this tool can provide faculty with useful insight about their student groups prior to departure.
– data from BEVI indicates that length of time abroad (short term vs semester/year) is not influencing a shift.
– in over 5,000 BEVIs administered in 17 years, there have only been 2 or 3 “issues” (parents phoning to discuss results – and he mentioned that one parent who had called was also a psychologist.)
– how the data is used by universities will be important. For example, if one course abroad shows a larger shift in beliefs/values than another program abroad, one cannot assume that the program is “more successful.” The shift, or lack thereof, may also be due to other factors, such as the professor’s teaching style. How the data is used by administrators is critical – and this is something that is covered in the training for those who are administering the BEVI.
To be able to administer the test, one is required to be certified. The next certification session will take place at Brethren Colleges Abroad from June 10-11th and the fee is estimated at $750 per person (this is a special rate for Forum members.) The Forum will be sending information out to members in the near future.