Program Evaluation for Service Learning: A Documented Briefing

by Charles A. Goldman

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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.

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