AFS Intercultural Programs is excited to announce a formal partnership with Global Cities, Inc., a Program of Bloomberg Philanthropies. This collaboration advances the measurement of student learning outcomes for global competency for K-12 students through the use of an innovative tool, the Codebook for Global Student Learning Outcomes.

Global Cities, in collaboration with Harvard’s Project Zero Out of Eden Learn, developed the Codebook for Global Student Learning Outcomes as a tool to enable educators and researchers to define, teach, observe, and measure progress towards global competence for K-12 students.

This new partnership will enable AFS and Global Cities to analyze the learning outcomes of students participating in AFS virtual exchange programs for teenagers, Global You and Global Up and explore the factors that contribute to their development of global competence. This analysis will focus on four global learning outcomes: Global Engagement, Appreciation for Diversity, Global Knowledge, and Cultural Understanding. The research will evaluate the impact of virtual exchange programs guided by a global competence curriculum and establish the applicability and effectiveness of the Codebook for evaluating global virtual exchange programs.

Previous research conducted by Global Cities demonstrated the success of their innovative virtual exchange program, Global Scholars, in demonstrating global collaboration and understanding among students aged 10 to 13. The new research will determine which learning outcomes students demonstrate and what is driving their learning, focusing primarily on the development of effective communication, collaborative problem-solving, and the cultivation of a global perspective among students.

Marjorie B. Tiven, founder and president of Global Cities, Inc. said, “Our partnership with AFS addresses the two significant questions for programs committed to teaching global competency through virtual exchange: Are students learning global competency? And, if so, what specifically are they learning? I am delighted AFS is applying the codebook—which was initially developed to evaluate our virtual exchange program, Global Scholars—to analyze what is happening in two of their programs.”

AFS, renowned for its commitment to intercultural programs, is enthusiastic about collaborating with Global Cities on this research project. Previous research studies of AFS virtual exchanges in collaboration with the Stevens Initiative have shown that ​​virtual exchanges have a meaningful immediate impact on the development of global competence among high-school aged youth around the world. Students who participated in AFS programs have specifically demonstrated a more positive view of peers from other cultures, being able to actively withhold judgment of others, and their cross-cultural communication skills.

Daniel Obst, President and CEO of AFS, expressed his excitement, stating, “Virtual exchange helps to broaden access to intercultural education, and we are eager to contribute to research on its educational impacts. We’re thrilled to partner with Global Cities on this research project, which aligns with our mission of preparing students to be active global citizens.”

Linda Stuart, Director of Global Education Innovation at AFS, underscored the significance of this research initiative stating, “This is another step for AFS to take leadership in research that uses metrics for often hard-to-measure outcomes. We believe in the power of virtual education for learners of all ages across the world.”

For more information about AFS virtual exchange programs and research results, visit Learn more about Global Cities, the Codebook and the Global Scholars virtual exchange program at Direct inquiries to Linda Stuart, AFS at [email protected] or Jody Kaplan, Global Cities at [email protected].