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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

Assessing Service-Learning

Deena Sue Fuller

Tennessee State University

Adapted from a presentation by

Brenda Marsteller Kowalewski

at Weber State


Presentation overview
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
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
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
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
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



Service learning outcomes for assessment
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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 graded1
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
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
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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