Assessment methods

Assessment methods

Faculty can use individual assessment methods on their own or in combination with other assessment methods. A brief explanation is given of the different assessment types.  For example, faculty can utilize a combination of journal writing and reflective thinking.

Case Studies Journaling       Presentations
Critical Incident Journaling Journals Reflective thinking
Discussion Papers Structured Journals
Interviews Portfolios Team Journals

Journaling

 A journal is a record of meaningful events, thoughts, feelings, interpretations and ideas. In this class your journal will be focused on service experiences and the learning you gain from the experience.

1.  To practice the writing process
2.  To analyze service situations
3.  To articulate your own reactions to your service experience
4.  To record the learning you gain and document progress toward learning objectives  

5.  To develop recommendations for action or change

How to create a service learning Journal

Think of your journal as a daily record of a journey, an exploration, a passage from one point of knowledge and understanding to another point further along.  In nautical terms a log is a daily register of the ship's progress and incidents of the voyage.  You need to be a good observer. First, you must observe and record factual events and details but you must record more than what you did. Next, you must reflect on what you observed and record what you understand, feel, question, and have ideas about. What is your interpretation of your experiences?  Think of journal writing as putting into words what you now understand, feel, question, and your ideas. What is your interpretation of your experiences?  Think of journal writing as putting into words what you now know, think, feel or question after your day's “journey.”   What is your interpretation of your experiences? 

Reflective thinking

A variety of activities can be used to facilitate student reflection. Faculty can require students to keep journals, organize presentations by community leaders, encourage students to publicly discuss their service experiences and the learning that ensued, and require students to prepare reports to demonstrate their learning. When constructing the reflection activities faculty should consider the following:

  •  Reflection activities should involve individual learners and address interactions with peers, community members and staff of community agencies.
  • Students with different learning styles may prefer different types of activities. Faculty should select a range of reflective activities to meet the needs of different learners.
  • Different types of reflection activities may be appropriate at different stages of the service experience. For example, case studies and readings can help students prepare for the   service experience.
  • Faculty should identify the type of service learning experience required. The different options are listed below.  Also faculty should inform the student of how the service learning experience will be assessed.  Examples of assessment methods are also provided.

    Reflection activities can involve reading, writing, doing and telling. Some examples of reflective activities are briefly described below:

    Faculty should identify the type of service learning experience required. The different options are listed below.  Also faculty should inform the student of how the service learning experience will be assessed.  Examples of assessment methods are also provided.

  • Faculty should identify the type of service learning experience required. The different options are listed below.  Also faculty should inform the student of how the service learning experience will be assessed.  Examples of assessment methods are also provided.

 

Case Studies

 Assign case studies to help students think about what to expect from the service project and to plan for the service activity. Use published case studies or instructor developed case studies based on past service-learning projects. 

 

Journals

Ask students to record thoughts, observations, feelings, activities and questions in a journal throughout the project. The most common form of journals are freeform journals. The journal should be started early in the project and students should make frequent entries. Explain benefits of journals to students such as enhancing observational skills, exploring feelings, assessing progress and enhancing communication skills. Faculty should provide feedback by responding to journals, class discussions of issue/ questions raised in journals or further assignments based on journal entries. 

 

Structured Journals     

Use structured journals to direct student attention to important issues/ questions and to connect the service experience to class work. A structured journal provides prompts to guide the reflective process. Some parts of the journal may focus on affective dimensions while others relate to problem-solving activities.

  

 Team Journal         

Use a team journal to promote interaction between team members on project related issues and to introduce students to different perspectives on the project. Students can take turns recording shared and individual experiences, reactions and observations, and responses to each entries.    

                                                                                                              

Critical Incidents Journal                              

Ask students to record a critical incident for each week of the service project. The critical incident refers to events in which a decision was made, a conflict occurred, a problem resolved. The critical incident journal provides a systematic way for students to communicate problems and challenges involved in working with the community and with their teams and can thus help in dealing with the affective dimensions of the service experience. 

 

Portfolios                 

Ask students to select and organize evidence related to accomplishments and specific learning outcomes in a portfolio. Portfolios can include drafts of documents, analysis of problems/ issues, project activities/plans, annotated bibliography. Ask students to organize evidence by learning objectives. 

 

Papers                       

Ask students to write an integrative paper on the service project. Journals and other products can serve as the building blocks for developing the final paper. 

 

Discussions              

Encourage formal/informal discussions with teammates, other volunteers and staff to introduce students to different perspectives and to challenge students to think critically about the project. 

 

Presentations        

Ask student(s) to present their service experience and discuss it in terms of concepts/theories discussed in class. 

 

Interviews         

Interview students on service experiences and the learning that occurred in these experiences. 

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