6. How should Service Learning be evaluated?
Due to the less structured nature of the service learning experience, special efforts should be made to assure that students are giving and getting feedback throughout the semester, not just at the end. You may even want to consider using the results of this feedback for a small study or conference paper although you should be sure to get approval from IRB before starting any study involving human subjects. Student feedback is crucial in developing your class, in monitoring the students' learning, and in measuring the success of the partnership. Besides class discussion, some commonly used techniques for eliciting informal feedback include the following:
Grading students' service-learning experiences can be challenging and rewarding at the same time. Since part of the grade will involve a student's progress on-site you will need to decide how you will include that process of engagement with the community and reflection in the final grade. Remember, you are evaluating the learning outcomes from service experiences and not necessarily the service itself. Here are some things to consider while developing a grading scheme for your class:
- How will I use feedback from the on-site contact in determining part of the grade?
- What happens if a student encounters a 'bad fit'? How will that affect the grade?
Example End of Semester Survey Questions
- Learning was more meaningful in this class than other classes I have taken.
- I took more responsibility for my learning in this class than I typically do in other classes.
- The community service was relevant to the academic course materials and content.
- I was more motivated to learn in this class than in other classes I have taken.
- I felt my contributions were appreciated by the community partner.
- The instructor should use the community partner we worked with for future service-learning projects.
- The instructor's expectations for the service-learning project were clear to me.
- The community partner's expectations for the service-learning project were clear to me.
- In this class I felt I made a worthwhile contribution to the community.
- This class made me realize that it is very important that I help others throughout my lifetime.
- I think all students should take a service-learning class while a student here at Purdue.
- My instructor did a good job of monitoring the projects that students were doing in the community.
- My instructor helped me work through difficulties I encountered while doing community service.
- Sharing reflections helped me to clarify what I was learning in this class.
- This service-learning course has made me more sensitive to diverse populations than ever before.
- This service-learning course has increased my knowledge about the needs of diverse populations.
Working with diverse populations in this course expanded my learning of the course content.