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Community-Based Experiential Education : Evaluation/Assessment

Use this guide to find information for service learning, community service and related topics.


Assessment and Evaluation

Assessment and evaluation of student learning outcomes and community impact is essential part of CBEE course development. The areas you choose to measure will vary based on your goals, but it is important to develop an assessment plan along with other aspects of your CBEE project. It’s no secret that quality CBEE takes extra time and planning on the part of faculty members. Without assessing the outcomes, there is no way to tell if your extra effort has been worthwhile. Here are some possible areas to consider:

Individual student learning

  • Student learning areas to consider evaluating include:
    • Demonstration of skills/course objectives
    • Accomplishments
    • Process
    • Reflective/Critical Thinking
    • Teamwork/Leadership
    • Communication
  • Some possible methods for evaluating student success may include:
    • Portfolios
    • Student self-evaluation
    • Sketches, drafts and final products
    • Sample written communications
    • Team member feedback

Team and project assessment

  • Project areas to consider evaluating:
    • Accomplishments relative to project goals
    • Client satisfaction
    • Team effectiveness
    • Demonstration of course objectives such as design process, use of theory, skills development
    • Feasibility of design
  • Some possible methods for evaluating team success may include:
    • Client evaluation
    • Team member feedback/assessment rubric
    • Oral presentation or written report

Community impact

  • Generally accomplished through a community partner/client survey at the completion of each project.

Program assessment (if applicable)

  • Program assessment should factor in anonymous student, faculty and community assessment based on state program goals. Surveys can be done at the end of each term and data compiled annually.
  • Another excellent option for program assessment is alumni surveys. This is a major undertaking, however, it can provide valuable information on how CBEE truly affects personal and professional outcomes over the long term.

The EPICS Program at Purdue University offers an excellent model for project-based CBEE assessment. Here is a quote from the “Lessons Learned” section of their paper on assessment (linked below).

“An assessment program can be designed to be flexible enough to capture the diverse learning that occurs in project-based service-learning. Industry models of performance appraisals work well and provide another way to link PBSL to professional practice. Students can be made to be partners in the process and that can add to the learning experience. Artifacts need to be generated for assessment and these can add to the learning and project components. Reflections provide deeper learning and they offer an artifact that can be assessed. Documentation of the projects is critical to the longevity of the projects and needed by the partners and also creates artifacts.”

EPICS: Engineering Projects in Community Service

Web Resources

Missouri Campus Compact documentation

A range of assessment resources compiled and organized by Missouri State Campus Compact. Various online articles and tools included.

Center for Information and Research on Civic Learning and Engagement (CIRCLE)

CIRCLE (the Center for Information & Research on Civic Learning & Engagement) conducts research on the civic and political engagement of young Americans.

A Choreographer, a physicist, and an evaluator walk into a theater: Mixed methods research designs for evaluating impact at the art/science/engagement interface

Power Point presentation by Michigan State University given at the International Association for Research on Service-learning and Community Engagement Conference in 2011. Uses their research project as a model, provides valuable tips and lessons about developing an evaluation method for CBEE projects.

An Assessment Approach to Project-Based Service Learning

An Assessment Approach to Project-Based Service Learning, a paper presented by Purdue University at the 2013  American Society for Engineering Education Annual Conference

Rhode Island Campus Compact Recommended Reading on Assessment 


Conrad, Clifton, and Laura Dunek. Cultivating Inquiry-driven Learners: A College Education for the Twenty-first Century. Baltimore: Johns Hopkins UP,    2012. Print.

Eyler, Janet, and Dwight Giles. Where's the Learning in Service-learning? San Francisco: Jossey-Bass, 1999. Print.


Chan, Cecilia Ka Yuk. "Assessing Community Service Type of Experiential Learning." The University of Hong Kong The HKU Scholars Hub. European    Journal of Engineering Education, 2011. Web. 29 Jan. 2015.

Driscoll, Amy, Barbara Holland, Sherril Gelmon, and Senna Kerrigan. "An Assessment Model for Service-Learning: Comprehensive Case Studies of    Impact on Faculty, Students, Community, and Institution." An Assessment Model for Service-Learning: Comprehensive Case Studies of Impact on    Faculty, Students, Community, and Institution. Michigan Journal of Community Service Learning, 196. Web. 29 Jan. 2015.

Finley, Ph.d Ashley. "Insights from the Teagle Foundation’s National Convening." What Works    and What Matters for Student Learning? (n.d.): n. pag.    Teagle Foundation. 2 Aug. 2012. Web. 29 Jan. 2015.

Gelmon, Sherril B. "How Do We Know That Our Work Makes a Difference? Assessment Strategies for Service-Learning and Civic Engagement." ERIC.    N.p., Fall 2000. Web. 29 Jan. 2015.

Hendricks, Bruce. "Improving Evaluation in Experiential Education." ERIC Digest. Ericae, Nov. 1994. Web. 29 Jan. 2015.

Hurtado, Sylvia, Adriana Ruiz, and Hannah Whang. "Diversity & Democracy Volume 15, Number 3 (2012)." Advancing and Assessing Civic Learning: New    Results from the Diverse Learning Environments Survey. N.p., 2014. Web. 29 Jan. 2015.

Qualters, Donna M. "Bringing the outside In: Assessing Experiential Education." Wiley Online Library. N.p., 8 Dec. 2010. Web. 29 Jan. 2015.