Overcoming Obstacles

Lesson 9: Public Assessment


  • Students will explore the usefulness and methods of public assessment.

  • Students will discover questions to consider when creating a public assessment.

  • Students will choose a means of publicly assessing their service learning experience.

  • Students will prepare a public assessment.

Part I: Public Assessment: What and Why

Purpose: Students discuss what public assessment is and why it can be useful.

1. Students recall how they began work on their service learning project.

Ask students to recall the process they went through when starting their service learning project. Elicit from students that they started with an idea and then researched information on the project topic and on service learning in general. Ask students what kinds of sources they searched for and consulted in order to find this information. Elicit from students that one of the sources they looked for was information on other service learning projects.

Explain to students that in the workplace, a public assessment of a project is almost always expected. Public assessments report to others what kinds of projects took place and whether they were successful. The assessments also provide important information to others who may want to initiate similar projects. Explain to students that a public assessment of their service learning project will provide a source of information for others who are interested in service learning or in their project topic.

Part II: What to Consider

Purpose: Students explore questions to consider when creating a public assessment.

1. Students discuss information to consider in a public assessment.

Have students list the specific information they looked for when they did research for their project. (Students should respond: what happened during previous projects and planning processes, what steps were taken to plan and complete the projects, what were the projects’ outcomes, what were some suggestions concerning steps or actions taken that others should repeat or avoid.)

Have a volunteer list students’ responses on the board. Explain to students that the information they have listed should be addressed in their assessment of the project.

Part III: Methods of Public Assessment

Purpose: Students choose a means of publicly assessing their service learning project.

1. Students discuss means of assessing their project.

Have students work in small groups of four or five to brainstorm different ways they could present a public assessment of their project. Encourage students to consider their suggestions about ways of self-assessing their projects. You may wish to provide students with the following examples of public assessments:

  • Written report
  • Annotated photo album or collage
  • Public presentation
  • Public forum, question-and-answer session
  • Play or video about their experiences
  • Publishing excerpts from their journals
  • Newspaper or newsletter articles
  • Website

Have each group report the results of their brainstorming to the class while a volunteer writes responses on the board.

2. Students complete a public assessment.

Have students work as a class to discuss and choose the method or methods they wish to use in order to create a public assessment of their project. Have them prepare the assessment and present it.

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