Assessing student performance in service learning: Awards & results
Laurence Minsky, Associate Professor, Columbia College Chicago []


Keywords: Behavioral changes, service learning, performance, development, students

Track: Student development and learning

Format: Poster presentation

Date & time: Friday 9:00

Location: Salon 4 / Salon 9

How do you judge student performance in a service-learning environment? One way is by seeing if the activities accomplished the goals of the community organization. But that only gets at part of the picture, because it’s from the organization’s perspective. There are other less traditional, but more powerful ways, to gauge performance: from the change in behaviors of the intended receivers of the service to the employ of outside professional standards. In this presentation, all of these ways will be explored. And, it will be argued that one should take a multi-input approach to assessing student learning, development, and performance.

Drawing from my work in teaching Ad Agency, a course that offers students real projects for real clients at the pace of an agency, I’ll explore all of the ways they’re assessed, during the course and beyond, including gauging the behavioral changes in the target audience to industry awards and other forms of recognition. Students in Ad Agency have produced TV, radio, outdoor, transit, print, and non-traditional advertising. Their work has gained attention in newspapers in Chicago and in blogs across the globe. And they have won a range of industry awards, including many in professional categories.

All of these results – organizational, professional, and broader community impact – point to the development, learning, and performance of the students in the course showcasing the success of the service-learning approach.

By exploring this case study and the conceptual framework of its assessment process, others might be better able to assess the impact of the service-learning experience not only for the community organization and its constituents, but also for the student participants as well. After all, service learning isn’t successful unless everyone’s goals are truly met.

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