THE MICHIGAN STATE UNIVERSITY EXTENSION CURRICULUM PROCESS


Tool 14: Assessing the Impact of Curriculum Experiences

As you develop your curriculum product, think about ways you can help those who will use it gauge the impact of the educational activities and process. Capturing this kind of feedback not only helps complete the experiential learning process, it also provides evidence you can use to show others why they would want to use the curriculum. This tool provides hints for ways to determine what kinds of learning is coming out of the educational experiences provided through your curriculum.

Helping People Reflect on Their Learning

As emphasized previously, helping people reflect on what they’ve learned through a set of educational experiences is a key component of the experiential learning process. Think about ways in which your curriculum can facilitate this reflection, both through the educational activities (for example, many activities include a "Talking It Over" component), and more formally through tools that encourage this reflection. The National 4-H Juried Curriculum Collection criteria requires that curricula included in this collection suggest or include evaluation experiences or tools that provide participants with feedback on their accomplishments. Several examples are suggested to accomplish this, including demonstrations, journals, conference judging, project judging, record-keeping, skillathons, retrospective post quizzes, impact evaluation tools, application assignments, and suggestions for observation of behavior to check on the acquisition of desired knowledge and skills.

Many curricula include feedback forms or self-evaluation forms for learners to complete throughout a project or after completing a project (see the Sew, Read! The Boy and the Quilt Feedback Form designed for 5- to 8-year-olds to use at the end of this project and the Communications Toolkit Self-Evaluation Form designed to be used throughout or at the end of this project). These kinds of tools not only allow people to think about the learning experience, they provide valuable information for the facilitators who are working with the learners.

Another example from a Michigan 4-H curriculum is the portfolio focus of Wild Over Work! Each of the four units in this K-6 curriculum concludes with an activity called "Portfolio - Putting It All Together." These portfolio activities are designed to help children through the process of compiling a portfolio in three steps:

  • Collecting samples of work that show what they did or what they learned.
  • Reflecting on the items included by talking to someone about them or writing down their thoughts about what they learned or did.
  • Selecting the samples that best represent their work or that are most meaningful to the kids.

Connect This Piece to Your Pilot Process

Whatever way you design to help youth and adults identify and assess what they’ve learned through experiencing your curriculum, be sure to capture the results of this method during your piloting process. You’ll be able to use this information to critique the impact of your curriculum with your pilot groups and you’ll be able to submit your findings as evidence if it is appropriate for you to submit your curriculum to the National 4-H Juried Curriculum Collection or other peer review processes. See Submitting Materials to the National 4-H Juried Curriculum Collection for additional information on these steps.

Last Updated: July 29, 2009; Last Reviewed: April, 2009
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