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Jan and Bud Richter Center

Impact of Service-Learning

Reflection & Assessment of Service-Learning’s Impact on Students

service project

Assessment is a critical element of every learning experience; service learning is no different.   Assessment serves to track, reinforce, and evaluate learning.  Perhaps a unique attribute to service learning, assessment is best implemented in three phases. The first phase, reflection before experience, should prepare students for their experience.  The broad array of opportunities in the Central Valley can make this a daunting task.  However, having selected agencies based on your learning objectives, preparing students will be manageable.   Start by listing what requisite skills are required?  What is unique about this population?  Some preparatory methods to equip your students include case studies, small group activities, and large group discussions. 

Secondly, you would want to employ a formative assessment with reflection during experience Methods used to assess learning during the experience often center on journals, critical incident reports, and discussions.  However, there are a many other techniques you could use such as problem-based learning, audio-visual presentations, and others.

Finally, you’d probably want to provide a summative evaluation in the form of a reflection after experience.  A variety of methods can be used to assess a service-learning experience.  It is important to include an element of that assessment targeting the quality of the experience.  Much like we ask students to evaluate instructors, we should enlist their input into the quality of their agency.