Engaged Teaching-Learning: Outcome Evaluation for Social Work Students in a Graduate-Level Service Learning Research Course


  • Stacy M. Deck Spalding University
  • Phyllis A. Platt Development and Growth Strategies, LLC
  • Laneshia McCord The University of North Carolina at Charlotte




Service learning, engaged teaching, social work, research self-efficacy, evaluation self-efficacy


The challenges of engaging social work students in the research curriculum are well-documented, and the literature supports the use of service learning to increase engagement. This study explores self-efficacy as one measure of learning outcomes. Changes in students’ (N=88) assessment of their ability to perform research and program evaluation tasks skillfully were measured by administering the Evaluation Self-Efficacy Scale (ESE) on the first and last days of a graduate-level advanced research class that included a service learning project. ESE scores on the last day of class were significantly higher than on the first day of class. The effect size was larger than in prior similar studies, suggesting that service learning contributed to students’ sense of mastery of course content. These results support the use of an engaged-learning model such as a service learning project in advanced social work research courses to improve students’ evaluation self-efficacy.

Author Biographies

Stacy M. Deck, Spalding University

School of Social Work, Associate Professor

Phyllis A. Platt, Development and Growth Strategies, LLC

Development and Growth Strategies, LLC, Consultant

Laneshia McCord, The University of North Carolina at Charlotte

School of Social Work, Assistant Professor