Authenticity in Learning and Assessment

In our January workshop, the CivicTREK teacher cohort explored a variety of tools and protocols for assessing student learning and progress through their service-learning experiences. One powerful aspect of service-learning is that it cultivates both academic and social-emotional learning by engaging students in work they care about and for which they take responsibility. 

Quote about Authentic Assessment

The session modeled some practices for social-emotional learning and teachers explored tools for managing groupwork and project activities, such as Kanban boards, team contracts, and discussion protocols. 

In this fifth year of the program, we welcomed back several CivicTREK alumni teachers who shared their own experiences and reflections:

  • “Start with your standards, and then guide students to activities that enable your assessments.”
  • “With my students, I used task sheets to designed to measure their acquisition of the various 5 C’s skills throughout the project.”
  • “I found it especially helpful for students to develop and follow a working timeline – and to display their work.  Kids really want to see their work!”
  • “For me, it was important to incorporate both reflection and assessment even at the early stages of the project process – it really helped with student ownership.”

Cohort participants also worked with a rubric to guide student self-assessment of their own progress:  As the student works through the DO IT project stages (Decide, Organize, Implement, Tell About It) they consider:

What does my participation look like when I am just beginning?  When I am getting there?  And when I am at my best?  Facilitators also shared an adapted version of this tool designed to make it more accessible to elementary and EL students.

What did participants find most helpful to their work?

  • “Talking through my project with people who are experienced.”
  • “The entire professional development was powerful, but the overall theme of student ownership and flexibility was made practical with the acknowledgement of protocols and routines.”

In the coming months, teachers and students will continue to develop service-learning ideas and implement their projects. While we look forward to the outcomes of those projects, we recognize the power of the process and the learning that comes from working through challenges that arise during service-learning.

Photo by Francesco Gallarotti on Unsplash


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