Keywords: volunteerism, community, helping behavior, work organization, undertaking

Introduction to Service Learning

When students begin joining different organizations during their college years, they are often exposed to the opportunity to volunteer some of their time or talents towards different causes.  For example, many fraternities or sororities hold philanthropic events with the goal of supporting a unique cause.  Service learning is sometimes equated to community service or volunteerism, but differs in that service learning provides a goal-oriented, value-based opportunity for students to develop by engaging with their community.  Although there has been a heavy focus on integrating service into academic settings, student affairs professionals are heavily involved with regulating and assessing service learning opportunities both inside and outside of the classroom. 

When Would You Measure Service Learning?

Student affairs professionals may want to measure service learning if their goal is to gauge:

  • Student development as a result of spending time providing services to the community
  • The needs of a certain area within a university or community that can be meliorated through service opportunities
  • Changes in values as a result of participating in programs focused on serving others
  • Learning and development as a result of active involvement with community members



Those wanting to measure service learning may find it helpful to start their research by reviewing similar evidence-based literature:

The Influence of Service Learning on Students’ Personal and Social Development (Simons & Cleary, 2010)

  • The authors provide evidence (both quantitatively and qualitatively) for the development of multiple facets of student learning due to service.


Enduring Influences of Service-Learning on College Students’ Identity Development (Jones & Abes, 2004) 

  • This article provides information about how the influence of service learning extends beyond the college experience alone and helps influence emotional and behavioral outcomes.


Psychometric Properties and Correlates of the Civic Attitudes and Skills Questionnaire (CASQ):  A Measure of Students’ Attitudes Related to Service Learning (Moely, Mercer, Ilustre, Miron, & McFarland, 2002) 

  • The authors provide a review of a scale previously used to measure civic engagement factors and potential outcomes. Results provide support for the reliability and validity of the scale.  


Frequently Used Instruments/Measures

The following instruments/measures have been used to assess service learning:

  • Civic Attitudes and Skills Questionnaire (CASQ)
  • Community Service Involvement Preference Inventory
  • Community Service Self-Efficacy Scale


Don’t Think This Construct Matches Your Assessment Goals? Check Out These Related Constructs: Engagement, Environmental Sustainability

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