Americans abroad: student characteristics, pre‐departure qualifications and performance abroad

Scott L. Thomas (University of Hawaii at Manoa, College of Education, Honolulu, USA)
Mary E. McMahon (Graduate Division, University of California, Santa Barbara, CA, USA)

International Journal of Educational Management

ISSN: 0951-354X

Publication date: 1 April 1998


This paper considers the relationship between admissions criteria and subsequent academic performance in a university‐level special study program, using the example of study abroad. The University of California Education Abroad Program (EAP), perhaps the largest single study abroad entity, provides the data and institutional setting for this study. Based on a study of nearly 1,600 students over a five‐year period, we describe student characteristics associated with participation, with special attention to diversity issues; we explore factors associated with academic performance abroad; we investigate minimum academic qualifications associated with academic “success” in the study program. Findings show marked variations in the demographic characteristics of students participating in the program and that students’ pre‐departure academic performance and foreign language proficiency are positively related to academic performance abroad. It is also shown that some students admitted to the program by exception do perform at equivalent levels.



Thomas, S. and McMahon, M. (1998), "Americans abroad: student characteristics, pre‐departure qualifications and performance abroad", International Journal of Educational Management, Vol. 12 No. 2, pp. 57-64.

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Copyright © 1998, MCB UP Limited

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