Assessing service learning
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Assessing Service-Learning. Deena Sue Fuller Tennessee State University Adapted from a presentation by Brenda Marsteller Kowalewski at Weber State. Presentation Overview. Welcome/Introductions/Brief Review of SL

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Assessing Service-Learning

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Assessing Service-Learning

Deena Sue Fuller

Tennessee State University

Adapted from a presentation by

Brenda Marsteller Kowalewski

at Weber State


Presentation Overview

  • Welcome/Introductions/Brief Review of SL

  • Purpose of Grading/Assessment

  • Connecting to course objectives

  • What is actually being graded?

  • How are these assignments graded?

  • Determining the weight of the service-learning project


Purpose of Grading/Assessment

  • To provide faculty with a measure of what was learned.

  • To provide feedback to students on what is expected of them, what they have done well, what they need to improve on and how.

  • Formative feedback on service-learning reflections can greatly enhance learning


What is service learning?

Equal parts “service” and “learning”

Structured Reflection is key

Embedded in academic, credit-bearing courses

Connection to graded assignments

Reciprocal benefit

Collaborative approach to projects


Connecting to Course Objectives

  • Grading is the act of measuring student learning outcomes.

  • Student learning outcomes are derived from course objectives.

  • Worksheet on five general academic learning goal categories in which service-learning can enhance academic learning.


Establishing Academic Learning Objectives

  • Course-Specific Academic Learning

    • Understanding specific course concepts and skills

  • Generic Academic Learning

    • Critical thinking skills

  • Learning How to Learn

    • Learning how to apply academic knowledge in the real world

  • Community Learning

    • Learning about a particular social issue

  • Inter- and Intra-Personal Learning

    • Learning how to work collaboratively with others


Potential service-learning outcomes for students


Service-learning outcomes for assessment

  • Understand and apply knowledge

  • Develop identity and values

  • Develop community awareness and practice community engagement

  • Demonstrate a commitment to lifelong learning and action

  • Awareness of social justice issues


Summarize overall plan

Expectations/assumptions about students

Learning outcomes: what they should know and/or know how to do

Learning strategies in support of outcomes

How do they learn through the service experience

Assessment Strategies for the learning


What is Actually Being Graded?

  • NOT the service. The learning is what you are assessing.

  • How do you know students are learning?

  • What activities in the classroom will enable students to meet academic learning objectives?

  • What assignments outside of the class will enable students to meet academic learning objectives?


Activities in the Classroom

  • Large and small group discussions

  • One-minute reflection papers

  • Critical incident reports

  • Presentations

  • Collage

  • Skit

  • Concept Mapping

  • Others?


Assignments Outside the Class

  • Integrative papers

  • Structured journals

  • Reflective interviews

  • Scrapbook or collage

  • Video or Photography

  • Portfolios

  • Case Studies

  • Participation and performance at the service site

  • Progress toward project completion

  • Tangible outcomes for the community

  • Others?


How are these Assignments Graded?

  • Literature on assessment lacks best practices for grading service-learning projects.

  • Assessment literature – assessing impact of service-learning on students based on their self evaluation.

  • Sample scoring rubrics are in your notebooks


How are the SL Assignments Graded?

  • Plan ahead and incorporate SL criteria into your syllabus so students will know what is expected

  • The more structure provided in the assignment, whether it be in class or out of class, the better.

    • Gives you the ability to evaluate first if they addressed what was assigned.

    • Then you can evaluate the quality of the response to the assigned question.

      • Look at the sample Rubrics


How are these Assignments Graded?: SCORING RUBRICS

  • Useful in grading journals or portfolios (two very popular assessment strategies in service-learning)

  • Some very general – see Sample Rubrics (in notebook)

  • Some very specific – look up Moskal on the web

  • There is no magic rubric. Design your own to fit your specific learning objectives and service-learning project.


How are these Assignments Graded?

  • Site Supervisor Evaluation

    • Faculty aren’t always in the field on site to observe students when they are actually engaging in service.

    • See example in packet for helping your community partners to participate in the supervision/evaluation

  • Student Self Evaluation

    • Gives the faculty member insight into how the students would rate themselves in the project.

    • See example in packet


Other questions about grading

  • Do all assignments have to be graded?

    • Not necessarily.

      • You could just give points for participation in the in-class reflection exercises or for turning in the weekly reflection papers.

  • Do we grade the level of participation in the assignments?

    • Sometimes --- evaluated on a scale or again, using a rubric.

      • Participation in class or small group discussion

  • Do we grade the level of participation in the service project?

    • What if a student does not complete the required number of hours?

      • Could reject all service-learning assignments because hours were not fulfilled.

      • Could adjust the scores on completed s-l assignments to reflect the percentage of hours completed.


Determining the Weight of the Service-Learning Project

  • What percentage of the course objectives are being taught via the service-learning assignment?

    • What assignments teach these objectives?

    • Weight accordingly

  • What percentage of the course objectives are being taught via other teaching strategies?

    • What assignments teach these objectives?

    • Weight accordingly


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