Service Learning Network

Designing Course Evaluation

Evaluating the impact and success of a service learning course is important to the continued improvement and sustainability of such a course.  Evaluation allows for a continued examination and clarification of the goals and interests of all members of the service learning partnership, and can provide direction when it is decided one or more of these goals are not currently being met to the satisfaction of the partners.  Finally, evaluation is essential in being able to articulate the value of the service learning course to important stakeholders.  The following considerations can help to establish a successful evaluation framework:

-Determine who the stakeholders of the evaluation may include (current and prospective students, faculty members, administrators, community members, community partner organizations, donors/grant writers, etc.) and think about the kinds of information they will want to have.

-Determine which of these areas of interest will be the highest priorities, and which could be delayed until time and resources allow - this will help to keep the evaluation manageable in scope.

-Work with the Human Research Review Committee and/or any relevant community review board(s) to identify ethical and logistical issues that will need to be resolved prior to carrying out the evaluation, and to determine timelines for securing approval before implementation.

-Determine the costs of implementing the evaluation, and how resources will be secured to meet these costs.

-Involve community partner(s) in collection of data for course evaluations, and be creative in capitalizing on opportunities for data collection.

-In addition to assessing course outcomes, consider collecting forms of data that can help to articulate to identified stakeholders the course's impact on the community.

-Consider structuring evaluation to demonstrate the course's effects on student knowledge, attitudes, behavior, beliefs, and development.

-Consider structuring evaluation to demonstrate the course's effects on the institution and its accomplishment of its goals and mission, and its standing within the community.

-Plan ahead of time to establish how the findings of the evaluation will be utilized and implemented to improve the course.


Page last modified March 13, 2014