Document Type

Dissertation

Degree

Doctor of Education (EdD)

Department

Adult Education and Human Resource Development

First Advisor's Name

Charles Divita

First Advisor's Committee Title

Committee Chair

Second Advisor's Name

Theodore J. Wright

Third Advisor's Name

Peter J. Cistone

Date of Defense

5-30-1997

Abstract

The purpose of this study was to explore the effects of a service-learning experience on student success as measured by class attendance, course completion, final course grades, and end-of-term evaluation data.

Though many outcomes of service-learning experiences have been studied, including ethical values, self-esteem, student personal development, and career preparation, relatively few studies have been conducted on the effects of such experiences on academic achievement, and the studies that have been done have primarily studied students at traditional, four-year, residential universities.

The study consisted of 286 students enrolled in six paired courses taught by five instructors at a community college in the Fall term 1996. One section of each pair (the control group) was taught using traditional subject matter and course materials and the other section of each pair (the treatment group) participated in a 20-hour required service- learning activity in addition to the regular course curriculum. The courses in the study included American History, Sociology, College Preparatory English, and Introduction to English Composition.

The results of this study indicate that, overall, students who participated in a class in which service-learning was a requirement, achieved higher final course grades and reported greater satisfaction with the course, the instructor, the reading assignments, and the grading system, and the treatment section of one course pair had fewer absences. In addition, the faculty members reported that, in the treatment sections, class discussions were more stimulating, the sections seemed more vital in terms of student involvement, the students seemed more challenged academically, more motivated to learn, and seemed to exert more effort in the course.

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