Global Awareness Profile



What is the intended purpose of the tool and the target audience?

The Global Awareness Profile (GAP) measures one’s awareness and knowledge of the world. It creates a critical awareness (the first step toward global competence) of one’s gaps in knowledge about the world, and stimulates one to engage in a life-long learning process toward navigating cultural worlds.  The GAPtest is suitable for students, educators, business leaders, national and global service workers. The GAPtest is not an intelligence test.  It is not a predictor of behavior.  It is an effective inventory to gauge one’s awareness of the world in which we live.  It can be used alone or in concert with other behavior based training and inventories.

What dimensions of culture/difference are measured/assessed?

Global awareness is the degree to which an individual has knowledge of every facet of societal function in major areas of the world. In order to assess global awareness, researchers divided the construct into two main categories, Geography and Context. Both contain seven subcategories. The subcategories for geography are:

(1) Asia,

(2) Africa,

(3) North America,

(4) South America,

(5) Middle East,

(6) Europe, and

(7) Global.

Additionally, the subcategories for context are:

(1) Environment,

(2) Culture,

(3) Politics,

(4) Geography,

(5) Religion,

(6) Socio-Economic, and

(7) Global.

Each question within the test uses two subcategories from each main category. For example a question may ask participants about the Culture in Africa, which clearly uses one subcategory from each of the main categories.

How are Questions formulated and revised?

Questions are based on facts and selected based a definitions guideline (see Definitions document for more information). The original test of 126 questions was based on research with international students and content experts living in the United States.   From hundreds of questions, a basic 126 were selected.  Currently, we are developing a database of questions for random testing. Questions are chosen based on common knowledge someone visiting a country for an extended period (more than one month) would know or gain awareness from through conversation, TV news, study or experience.  In future editions of the test, answers will be selected on a tier of correctness.  Because the question database is online, corrections based on current events are revised as needed and required.

How is the tool accessed (i.e., web-based, etc.)?

The GAPtest Online is a web-based inventory based on a MySQL database. All test-takers are asked to complete a personal profile. Once completed online, the test-taker’s score is automatically generated at the conclusion of the test.  Information from the profile is calculated with the score data and available to the administrator for comparison.

What reports are generated?

A graphic profile with scores is generated for the test-taker at the completion of the inventory.  Administrators of the account have access to personal profiles and group aggregate data.  Optional reports are available upon request and at an additional fee.

Are both individual and group assessments available?

Yes.  Individuals may take the GAPtest on-line independently of a group.  The GAPtest is also convenient for group assessment, as well.  Institutions (businesses and organizations) can create groups and give individual group keys that place individual test-takers into convenient groups.

Are certifications offered/required to interpret results?

No.  There is currently no certification for administrators.  Help is offered in knowing how to interpret scores and aggregate data. The results are straight forward.  Training can be provided.

What is the cost?

Organization registration for a group administrator is $50.  Individual tests outside of a group are $10.  Group associated tests are $6 per test.  Educational discounts are available.

Has the GAPtest been statistically validated)?

Yes. First in 2006, MBA students from St. Joseph’s University assessed the GAPtest for face validity by analyzing all questions.  Second, in 2008 an independent research was hired to analyze over 1100 data sets for reliability and validity. The Global Awareness profile is 96.9% reliable, and is a valid instrument for assessing global awareness.  In both content and convergent validity, “…the GAP test is valid. It includes all relevant and representative aspects of the construct of global awareness, but it does not include aspects that it should not be included. Therefore, the GAP test is a valid measure of global awareness.”

How long is the survey (number of items/length of time)?

There are 126 questions. On average it takes 30-45 minutes to take the inventory depending on motivation and English language level.  Based on our research and evaluation, shortening the test would reduce significantly its reliability and validity.

Typical applications of the tool?

  • Stimulating introductory activity that creates an interest and motivation to learn. [We also have a GAPgame that can be used in group trainings before taking the test.]
  • Diagnostic tool for knowledge about Global Awareness in the general population, organizational or educational staff.
  • Pre and Post assessment of student learning on the high school upper class, undergraduate and graduate level.  It is effective assessment of the amount of knowledge gained in a class or program on international and global issues.
  • Since its reliability is so high, the inventory can be used to measure additional tests
  • Test employers can use the GAPtest to assess employees who deal with international accounts.
  • Using the GAP test as a diagnostic tool for the general population, researchers will be able to compare American participants to participants from other countries.
  • The GAP test can be used as a teaching aid for instructors who wish to determine the amount of knowledge students’ gained over the course of a semester or longer period of a training program.
  • Researchers use the tool to measure global awareness. The GAP test can be used as a teaching aid for instructors who wish to determine the amount of knowledge students’ gained over the course of a semester. Also, future researchers who want to develop a measure of global awareness may use the GAP test to assess the reliability and validity of the measure they are developing. The results could point to large discrepancies between certain groups in society. Moreover, the results could be used as an argument for education reforms that aim to improve global awareness in American citizens.

Year tool was created?

The Global Awareness was developed in 1998.  It has been revised several times and was placed online in 2007.  The online version allows for real-time updates.

Do you offer other services?


  • One-Day trainings in Living Overseas, Coming to America, Global Competence, The Globally Competent Manager, Peace-Making and Conflict Management
  • Orientation design for cross-cultural living (extensive experiential orientation and training)
  • Leading international learning expeditions and exchanges to Latin America, Africa, Asia and Europe
  • Specialized inventories on specific geographic and context areas

Who are our current clients?

Clients include, but are not limited to: Belmont University (Business Department), Portland State University, Center for International Studies, Lake Forest Graduate School (MBA), Texas A&M Global Studies Leadership Department, University of Maryland–Global Studies, Bond University (Australia), Red Deer College (Canada). Contacts on request.

Are licenses for this tool available?

No license is required.  Clients set up an organization/business account ($50) and then test-takers are grouped with log-in and passwords that the client administrator provides to test-takers.  There are two payment options: 1) client purchases tests in bulk and then offers free to test-takers, or 2) client has test-takers pay online through a PayPal account.

What do your clients say?

…I start the students off with the GAPtest in the first semester and end with the GAP test in the final (fourth) semester.  It is a good wake-up call for many, really makes them focus on their strengths while also recognizing the areas in which they don’t have so much knowledge.  It helps me guide them in terms of their program focus – some want to build on what they know others want to fill in the gaps…Dr. Kirsten Dabelko, University of Maryland

…We’re [used] the GAP test as a pre/post measure of global competence in a multi-site evaluation of the usage of The World in Transition (WIT) series curriculum enhancement volumes published by the Southern Center for International Studies in Atlanta.   The GAP test appears to be about the most content-valid instrument out there for the WIT materials, which combine history, economics, geography, culture, and lots of current events in each volume of the series.  The series is supplemented by a current events website at http://www.scis.org.  We’re using the GAP test to get a baseline of social studies pre-service teacher global competence prior to an intensive seminar that deals with the WIT materials in depth, and then again at the end of the course to assess gains.  We used the old version successfully last year in a pilot study for this evaluation, and found significant gains on virtually all areas assessed…J. Joseph Hoey, Ed.D. Director of Assessment, Georgia Institute of Technology

How have students responded?

Students are often asked to respond to their Profile through reflection and goal setting.  Below is the response of a graduate student who took the Pre-Test.   As part of the this student’s assessment, he/she is being asked to consider specific reading, viewing, study and travel in the next two years to improve their global knowledge and competence.  We do find that scores improve through this strategy.

Result of External Assessment
DateAugust 2008 Assessor Test TitleGAPtest Result85 LevelAbove average
Assessee’s comments on performance and future target settingI was surprised that I scored above the class average because I have not had many opportunities to travel abroad and have not been exposed to many cross-cultural opportunities.  It made sense to me that I scored lowest in politics and geography because those areas are ones in which I have had the least education and interest.  The areas I scored the highest are ones in which I am the most interested and have had the most education.  It also made sense to me that I have the least knowledge about Asia and the Middle East because I have had the least education in those two geographic areas.  Neither do I know people from those areas.  I do know people from Africa and South America.  I was surprised that I didn’t know much about Europe.  I haven’t had much education in that area but feel I should know more because it is a part of my heritage and more widely known about because it is mainly comprise of developed countries.

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