Assessing Students in Academic Service-Learning: Faculty Experiences and Challenges

Rina Marie Camus, Grace Ngai, Kam Por Kwan, Daniel T.L. Shek

Research output: Chapter in book / Conference proceedingChapter in an edited book (as author)Academic researchpeer-review


Service-learning contributes to student development in multiple ways, through academic, social, personal, and civic outcomes. Because it intends varied outcomes and is itself a complex pedagogy, formally assessing students in service-learning courses can prove particularly challenging for faculty. Challenges include managing on-site observation of service performance, working with multiple assessors, and a heavy workload. This chapter is a qualitative study of faculty challenges in formally assessing students in academic service-learning courses. The study uses phenomenographic research methods and is based on interviews with 17 faculty members from 4 universities in Hong Kong. It is hoped that difficulties faculty face in assessing service-learning will be better understood and that practical insights can be drawn to guide assessment practices in academic service-learning. Results show that all participants combined traditional and experiential assessment methods in their courses and that reflection was commonly used. However, on-site performance was not assessed by all and was the most reported area of challenge. On-site performance is primary means for faculty to see how students are applying their knowledge and skills. It also helps ensure the quality of service rendered to the community. Hence, the study recommends reinforcing course components and assessment methods that have direct bearing on service work.

Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationQuality of Life in Asia
Number of pages23
Publication statusPublished - 18 Aug 2022

Publication series

NameQuality of Life in Asia
ISSN (Print)2211-0550
ISSN (Electronic)2211-0569


  • Challenges
  • Faculty
  • Formal assessment/grading
  • On-site performance
  • Reflection
  • Service-learning

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Demography
  • Education
  • Development
  • Public Administration


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