(ref: SLOOPY: Service-Learning Opportunity-Options Program for Youth CD-ROM Resource Kit by Youth Community Service)
Service-learning combines service to the community (civic engagement) with student learning in a way that improves both the student and the community. Focus is placed equally on the learning experience, the skills developed, and the service performed. Here’s a seven-point evaluation system to distinguish high quality service-learning programs.
1. Integrated Learning
- The service-learning project has clearly articulated knowledge, skill or value goals that arise from ultimate learning goals including social skills, citizenship, personal growth, cognitive development and career exploration.
- The service informs the learning content, and the learning content informs the service.
- The service-learning project is a collaboration among as many of these partners as is feasible: students, parents, community-based organization staff, school administrators, teachers, and recipients of service.
- All partners benefit from the project and contribute to its planning.
- Reflection establishes connections between students’ service experiences and the academic curriculum.
- Reflection occurs before, during, and after the service-learning project.
4. High Quality Service
- The service is a response to an actual community need that is recognized by the community.
- The service is age-appropriate and well-organized.
- The service is designed to achieve significant benefits for students and community.
5. Student Voice – Students participate actively in …
- choosing and planning the service project;
- planning and implementing the reflection sessions, evaluation, and celebration;
- taking on roles and tasks that are appropriate to their age.
- All the partners, especially students, are involved in evaluating the service learning project.
- The evaluation seeks to measure progress toward the learning and service goals of the project.
7. Civic Responsibility
- The service-learning project promotes students’ responsibility to care for others and to contribute to the community.
- By participating in the service-learning project, students understand how they can impact their community.
Youth Community Service is a Palo Alto, California based 501c3 non-profit. By developing service and leadership opportunities for young people and service learning support for teachers, YCS promotes the ethic of service, fosters youth leadership, builds community, and enhances education in Santa Clara and San Mateo Counties in the San Francisco Bay Area. Check out the SLOOPY CD-ROM at Reach and Teach.