A study of the effects of a service-learning experience on student success at an urban community college

Judith Sheryl Berson, Florida International University


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.

Subject Area

Community colleges|Higher education|Adult education|Continuing education

Recommended Citation

Berson, Judith Sheryl, "A study of the effects of a service-learning experience on student success at an urban community college" (1997). ProQuest ETD Collection for FIU. AAI9806858.