This documented briefing outlines a strategy for evaluating service learning programs on college campuses. It describes the various costs of service learning programs and the benefits to students, faculty, educational institutions, and their communities. The presentation offers suggestions for data sources and methods to support analysis and research. Three methods are presented to quantify the benefits of service programs to the community: the value of inputs, the value of outputs, and the value of outcomes. Program evaluation helps institutions use scarce resources to the best advantage in promoting institutional values. Good program evaluation makes it easier to write strong grant applications, respond to questions raised by state and federal decisionmakers, and identify areas where programs can be improved and how improvements might be accomplished.
This report is part of the RAND Corporation Draft series. The unrestricted draft was a product of the RAND Corporation from 1993 to 2003 that represented preliminary or prepublication versions of other more formal RAND products for distribution to appropriate external audiences. The draft could be considered similar to an academic discussion paper. Although unrestricted drafts had been approved for circulation, they were not usually formally edited or peer reviewed.
Our mission to help improve policy and decisionmaking through research and analysis is enabled through our core values of quality and objectivity and our unwavering commitment to the highest level of integrity and ethical behavior. To help ensure our research and analysis are rigorous, objective, and nonpartisan, we subject our research publications to a robust and exacting quality-assurance process; avoid both the appearance and reality of financial and other conflicts of interest through staff training, project screening, and a policy of mandatory disclosure; and pursue transparency in our research engagements through our commitment to the open publication of our research findings and recommendations, disclosure of the source of funding of published research, and policies to ensure intellectual independence. For more information, visit www.rand.org/about/principles.
The RAND Corporation is a nonprofit institution that helps improve policy and decisionmaking through research and analysis. RAND's publications do not necessarily reflect the opinions of its research clients and sponsors.