Assessment of Students’ Civic Learning and Development

August 7, 2016

One vital responsibility of higher education institutions is to prepare students for lives of engaged citizenship, with the motivation and capacity to deliberate, act, and lead in pursuit of the public good. Being able to measure and share the outcomes your students achieve due (in part) to the community engagement activities they participated in through your institution is something we hope all of our partner institutions aspire to accomplish.

We are all familiar with the adage that students receiving a degree should learn something and develop into prepared graduates—typically focused on learning and preparation for the workforce or a career. While assessment practices framed by these adages are necessary (e.g., accreditation), we encourage you to consider using civic outcomes as a focal point of assessment practices and plans for your course, program, discipline, department or school. Framing learning and development with a civic or public frame aligns well with disciplinary, department, school and/or university-wide learning goals and objectives.

The first, essential step in assessing students’ civic learning or development is to identify what civic goals, objectives, and/or outcome(s) you are able to accomplish through your school, department, and curriculum, program, and/or pedagogy. Once you know what you expect your students to learn, you will need to identify how you can assess their growth or knowledge. Finally, it is important to make assessment data useful in guiding future action.

One of a wide range of knowledge hubs developed by Campus Compact, Assessment of Students’ Civic Learning and Development offers resources, models, and information from across the country.