Monitoring and Evaluation

5. Monitoring and Evaluation

Effective monitoring and evaluation is crucial for the success of any community engagement initiative or project. Monitoring and evaluation strategies will be crucial not only for your students success but for the success of the partnership at the heart of your service-learning project.The evaluation should measure the progress made towards meeting the learning and service goals of the course.

Evaluation of student performance in the service activity should be specified at the outset of the course, and as in any university course students are being assessed on their learning not their service. A clear grading rubric should be made available to students to clarify what is expected of them, and how they will be assessed. This should include the overall assessment criteria for projects and assignments, as well as an assessment of the student’s ability to connect the service experience with the course content. Your evaluation of the course should be on the student’s learning through their service activities, and students should be expected to produce tangible project deliverables which demonstrate that they have learned. Where possible, provide past examples of good and poor work so that students understand what is expected of them in advance.

Evaluation should also include assessment of community outcomes, for example, by asking to what extent the community project’s goals were accomplished. This should be done in partnership with the community organisation. Community partner feedback on your project is important for maintaining a long term reciprocal relationship with your partner – a partner who does not think that they have benefitted from the project is unlikely to want to take time or dedicate resources in the future to a partnership in which only your students learning objectives are met.

Pre- and post-course surveys measure general attitudes and perceptions of students enrolled in service-learning courses, and thus provide useful information for measuring course effectiveness and enhancing the quality of the service-learning experience. They are also useful tools for evaluating whether the service activity you are undertaking in your course is meeting your learning objectives in terms of transformation and discipline specific learning.

The Community Engagement Division has examples of assessment instruments that have been successfully used and are happy to share these with staff, as well as to support staff in designing suitable tools and implementing ongoing monitoring and evaluation of service-learning courses. 

Last Modified: Wed, 24 Aug 2016 12:10:06 SAST