The purpose of this case study was to explore and describe educational psychology students'
experiences of academic service learning (ASL) as part of a higher education- rural school
partnership in order to inform knowledge on higher education community engagement. The
Transformative Learning Theory framed the study by engaging students in an active meaningmaking
process of critical self-reflection and integration of experiences. Qualitative
methodology was chosen as the preferred mode of inquiry which contributed to my insight and
understanding of participants' subjective experiences of ASL. A constructivist epistemology
guided dynamic interaction with participants, providing a platform for co-constructing
knowledge generated based on participants' retrospective experiences. Seven cohorts of
Master's students in Educational Psychology (2007 to 2013; n=22), who were involved in
assessments and interventions at a rural school as part of their training at the University of
Pretoria, were purposefully selected. Participants were, as far as possible, representative in
terms of gender, age and cultural background. Qualitative data generation techniques (i.e.
questionnaires and semi-structured interviews) were used to collect data, which were then
thematically analysed by reporting on patterns across cohorts. The findings suggested that
participants experienced the ASL practicum as an engaged scholarship that is socially
transformative. The findings furthermore revealed that participants experienced ASL as an
integral part of the educational psychology curriculum and a platform for initiating and
developing professional identity. The ASL practicum experiences of participants are consistent
across cohorts and similar to that experienced by other students in ASL programmes.