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How Can I Evaluate Service Learning Assignments?

A common faculty concern is preserving academic integrity while incorporating Service Learning into the curriculum. One way to ensure this is to have a clear and rigorous assessment procedure for evaluating student learning. The consensus in the field is that credit should be given for the student’s mastery of course content and not for the service they perform. Marie Troppe offers the following criteria for effective evaluation of Service Learning projects. An assignment or activity, such as a journal, is needed to provide evidence of how the student connects the service to the course content.

By helping students to distinguish between description and analysis, between emotional reactions and cognitive observations, faculty help them to transform service experiences into learning experiences. Evaluation of service learning occasionally makes use of subjective evaluation in the same way that traditional courses sometimes make use of subjective evaluation.

  • There is not a one-to-one correspondence between hours served and knowledge gained or credit earned. Nevertheless, a certain minimum of service hours may be needed to provide an experience of significant depth.
  • Effective for credit option programs require a component that explicitly links the service to the course, for example, a learning contract and / or a journal assignment.
  • To preserve the academic integrity of service learning, credit is not awarded for hours of service but rather for demonstrated learning based on service.
  • Extra hours of service should not necessarily yield extra credit.
  • Giving early and regular extended feedback on students' journal entries is a critical part of teaching students how to develop their reflection skills.

Troppe, Marie. (1995). Common Cases: Philosophy of Evaluation in Service-Learning Courses, Connecting Cognition and Action: Evaluation of Student Performance in Service-Learning Courses, Campus Compact's Project on Integrating Service With Academic Study.Troppe, Marie. (1995). Common Cases: Philosophy of Evaluation in Service-Learning Courses, Connecting Cognition and Action: Evaluation of Student Performance in Service-Learning Courses, Campus Compact's Project on Integrating Service With Academic Study.


 

JOURNAL EVALUATION

A good journal entry will include all of the following.

A check means improvement is needed.

CRITERIA

Adequate length - at least three full pages for each week’s topic.

Some effort at reflective or critical thinking, either by analyzing or asking questions about the topic .

RATING FOR THIS PROJECT

Incomplete

  • Insufficient number of pages written
  • May also have:
  • Unclear focus
  • Weak development

Next Step:

  • Write at least three full pages for each week’s topic.
  • Use Bloom’s Taxonomy to help you develop Critical Questions about your topic.

Passing

  • Adequate length - at least three full pages for each week’s topic.
  • Adequate interpretation. but could be more original or thought- provoking.

Next Step:

Use Bloom’s Taxonomy to help you develop Critical Questions about your topic.

Superior

  • Adequate length - at least three full pages for each week’s topic.
  • Shows clear signs of potential for independent interpretation, either by a new insight or interesting question.

Next Step:

Keep using the journal as a place to explore, ask questions and take a few risks. See me for some suggestions on this , if you wish.

 

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