5 Step Process
Step 1: Preparation
Preparation includes planning service activities and making sure each faculty member, student and community partner understands what is expected.
Step 2: Action
Action is the service activity. Meaningful action means that the service is necessary and valuable to the community. Effective service-learning projects should challenge and stretch the students, both cognitively and intellectually. The action should include the tasks to be completed, when it should be completed and the person responsible for making sure it is complete. There should also be clear links between the service activity and the objectives of the course. Students should have a sense of ownership in the project.
Step 3: Reflection
Reflection offers the opportunity for students to critically think about their service-learning experience and how to apply their respective insights to broader academic and social contexts. Whether related directly to discipline-based course material or not, reflection can be administered through individual and/ or group reflection or via oral and written communication, such as journaling. Overall, reflection activities provide opportunities to link academic work with service-learning activities in a way that is personal to each student. Through reflection, students discuss and consider their values, ideals and opinions related to the service-learning action.
Step 4: Celebration
This step recognizes the contributions made by the students, faculty and community agency, and provides closure to the service-learning activity. Recognition helps the partners to feel good about what they accomplished. Students are much more likely to stay involved if they feel good about their involvement. The celebration may include students sharing their reflections with one another and/or with the community partner.
Step 5: Assessment/Evaluation
This area is concerned with both student assessment and project evaluation. Student assessment addresses how faculty will assess student learning to ensure that learning objectives are met. Assessment methods may include student program evaluations, community partner surveys and personal meetings with stakeholders and pre and post examinations. Pre and post tests could be constructed in such a way as to show how much students learn during the semester.
A service-learning class evaluation may take a number of forms such as tests, quizzes, essays, papers, reports, oral presentations, portfolios (of the service performed), reflection journals, e-journals, threaded discussions, focused web-based chats, exhibits, demonstrations, etc…
Assessment/Evaluation should be integrated throughout the process rather than be considered as the last step. The Service-Learning Planning Committee asks each faculty administering a service-learning class to assess the student learning and document the service-learning project by including the student, faculty and agency representative in the respective evaluation. In addition to gaining feedback on the success of your events, you will also obtain many suggestions for improvement. Please supply the Service-Learning Planning Committee with a copy of all service-learning activities and course syllabi you undertake.