A PWM output controls the speed of the motor, and a digital out controls the direction. The problem is that it only works in one direction, namely if the direction pin is high.
With the direction pin HIGH and 255 is written to the PWM pin, Vout on the terminals is similar to Vin. If I reverse the direction by setting the direction pin LOW I would expect Vout to be -Vin, ie. the polarity reversed. But not so. I get a little more than zero volt across the terminals.
It's the same for both channels.
Edit: The setup is powered from a 9V power adaptor through the barrel jack on Arduino.
Is the board defective, or am I misunderstanding something?
SOLUTION: Thanks to the edited post (especially #3) in the accepted answer, I not only looked at the schematic (again), I actually understood it. I had already noticed the jumper called V-LOGIC which on the picture from Sparkfun was set to 5V where it on my shield was not set. I really didn't know what it was used for, but I set it to 5V so it was the same. But by looking at the schematic and the inverters, I realized that the inverter was fed from V-LOGIC which was connected to 5V. And bingo: I had not connected the 5V pin on the shield, only vIN which I assumed would be sufficient. The thing is, I am awaiting a set of stackable headers instead of the ones supplied, so I only connected the minimum numbers of pins because I will need to desolder them when I get the new headers.