Impact evaluation of the study abroad program Mos-4
The aim of this project is to investigate the impact of programmes designed by the Province of Trento, and co-funded by the European Social Fund, intended to encourage high school students to experiencing a study programme abroad. Specifically this project evaluates a measure launched in March 2012, consisting in offering students the opportunity to study English in an English speaking country. In order to encourage students to participate, it offers a fully funded stay of 4 weeks either in UK or Ireland to students who have successfully completed their fourth year of upper secondary education (corresponding to grade 12).
The programme provides a full time English course, accommodation in a college, and the complete coverage of travel and accommodation expenses. Together with local administrators, FBK-IRVAPP has implemented a field experiment in order to control the selection mechanism: among applicants, 200 students were randomly assigned to the treatment group, while the other applicants were used as control group. In this way researchers have been able to compare participants to non-participants with respect to non cognitive competences (self-esteem, attitudes toward diversity, mind openness), language skills and educational outcomes in order to estimate the impact of the study programme abroad.
A baseline survey collected the outcomes of interests and a set of background information in order to check the consistency of the randomization process. The post-programme survey collected information only about the outcomes and the compliance process. The results emerging from the analyses confirms the validity of the randomization process and highlight that the programme had a positive and statistically significant effect on learning English and on non cognitive outcomes.