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The State of Service- Learning: What the Research Says Shelley H. Billig, Ph.D. RMC Research, Denver.

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Presentation on theme: "The State of Service- Learning: What the Research Says Shelley H. Billig, Ph.D. RMC Research, Denver."— Presentation transcript:

1 The State of Service- Learning: What the Research Says Shelley H. Billig, Ph.D. RMC Research, Denver

2 Overview Service-Learning Profile: Who, What, When, Where, and Why Theoretical Foundations Impacts Quality as a predictor of outcomes Questions and answers

3 Prevalence: Who? (Kielsmeier, Scales, Roehlkepartain & Neal) 69% of schools and about 15 million students engage in community service; 30% of K-12 public schools engage students in service-learning, reaching about 4.5 million students; More is offered in schools with higher income students: 36% v. 29%

4 Character of Service- Learning: What? Most have one time events (80%) or events that last less than a month (76%); In 36%, students engage in service- learning planning; 73 hours per year per student in service; and 15% have a part-time service-learning coordinator while 9% have a full time coordinator.

5 Not expensive! (Melchior, 2001) Cost is small – about $54 per student, ranges from $20 to $1150 per student.

6 Why Service-Learning? Teachers’ Reasons

7 Principals’ Views (Kielsmeier, Scales, Roehlkepartain & Neal, 2004) Civic engagement and personal/social development was most important for most. Academic engagement and performance was most important for those in higher poverty schools.

8 Service-Learning and Academic Achievement: Results from: –Michigan Learn and Serve –Need in Deed –CO-SEED –Others

9 Results for Michigan School Engagement Elementary school children: –Service-learning participants had significantly higher scores on cognitive engagement after controlling for gender and grade level (group effect=.21, t=3.72,df=38, p<.01) e.g. “I talk with people outside of school about what I am learning in class” and “I am interested in the projects we do in school.”

10 Results for School Engagement –Service-learning participants had higher scores than the comparison groups in English/language arts engagement after controlling for gender, prior experience with service, and grade level (Group effects=.23, t=2.26, df=26, p<.05) (“I really pay attention to classwork,” “I try as hard as I can” and “I find myself concentrating so hard that time passes quickly.”)

11 Results on the Michigan State Assessment (MEAP) Fifth grade students who participated in service-learning outperformed (p<.05 level) comparison students on: –Writing –Total social studies –Three social studies strands Using Earth Science Historical Perspective Inquiry and Decision Making Students in grades 7 and 8 showed no differences on the MEAP by participation in service-learning

12 Study of Philadelphia Need in Deed Service-Learning Programs Matched comparison groups on a standardized test (TerraNova). –Sixth grade students in SL had statistically significantly higher test scores in language arts and science. –No difference for fourth and eighth grade. Qualitative data suggest content and quality mattered.

13 New England CO-SEED Four sites in three states (NH, VT, MA). Scores on state tests compared year to year for the same students. –NH 6 th grade SL students had statistically significant higher scores on state assessment in language arts, math, science, and social studies than district average gain. –VT 6 th grade students had slightly higher scores in reading and 2 nd grade students had significantly higher scores on reading and word analysis. –3 rd grade students showed no differences.

14 WHY DOES SERVICE- LEARNING WORK? National Research Council: How People Learn Brain-based Research Effect Size Literature

15 Creating a Climate for Learning Safe Nurturing High Challenge Low Threat Encourages Risk-taking Inclusive Multi-sensory Stimulating Collaborative

16 How People Learn National Research Council. (1999). Six findings in How People Learn from NRC.

17 Research Finding 1 Understanding is more than knowing facts.

18 Research Finding 2 Students build new knowledge and understanding on what they already know and believe. Knowledge

19 Research Finding 3 Students formulate new knowledge by modifying and refining their current concepts and by adding new concepts to what they already know. New Knowledge Knowledge

20 Research Finding 4 Learning is mediated by the social environment in which learners interact with others.

21 Research Finding 5 Effective learning requires that students take control of their own learning.

22 Research Finding 6 The ability to apply knowledge to novel situations, that is, transfer of learning, is affected by the degree to which students learn with understanding.

23 Memory is a Process Pat Wolfe. (2001). Sensory Memory Working Memory Long-Term Memory Sight Sound Smell Taste Touch Initial Processing Elaboration & Organization Retrieval Forgotten Rehearsal

24 Research-based Strategies Effect Sizes and Achievement Marzano, et al. (2001). Identifying similarities and differences1.61 Summarizing and note taking1.00 Reinforcing effort and providing recognition.80 Homework and practice.77 Nonlinguistic representations.75 Cooperative learning.73 Setting objectives and providing feedback.61 Generating and testing hypotheses.61 Questions, cues, and advance organizers.59

25 Service-Learning and Citizenship Serving others is not just a form of do- goodism, it is a road to social responsibility and citizenship. When linked closely to classroom learning…it is an ideal setting for bridging the gap between the classroom and the street…In serving the community, the young forge commonality; in acknowledging difference, they bridge division; and in assuming individual responsibility, they nurture social citizenship.” –Benjamin Barber (1998: 10-12)

26 Indicators of Disengagement Voting is down – only 38% of 18-25 year olds voted in 2000; Political party identification is down from 75% in 1960 to 65% in 1990; Keeping up with public affairs is down – freshmen entering UCLA down from 60% in 1966 to 28% in 2000; Only 25% of students scored at the proficient or advanced levels on the NAEP civics assessment; “These declines in participation appear all along the spectrum from hyperactivists to political slugs” (Putnam, 2000:46)

27 Theories… Civic identity – family and other socialization experiences Social capital – networks and affiliation Generational – the Millennials

28 Generational Theory Millennials- Who Are They? “The first, tough, cranky, pragmatic, independent Generation Xers are gonna start hitting 40 in the next couple of years, and rearing up behind them are the Millennials, the first batch of which are the high school class of 2000. These kids are, as a group, pleasant, cheerful, helpful, ambitious, and community-oriented.” »– MaryAnn Johnson, film critic,

29 What are they like? According to Millennials Rising (Howe and Strauss, 2000), they are: –Optimists –Cooperative team players –Accept authority –Follow rules –Are the most “watched” in many generations –Believe in the future – “kids who are going to change things”

30 History shapes generations To identify a persona of a generation, look for three attributes: –Perceived membership in a common generation; –Common beliefs and behaviors; –Common location in history.

31 One generational theory states that each generation… Solves a problem facing the prior youth generation, whose style has become dysfunctional in the new era; Corrects for the behavioral excess it perceives in the current midlife generation; and Fills the social role being vacated by the departing elder generation. »(Howe and Strauss, 2000)

32 Generational Challenges That Millennials Will Tackle? (Howe and Strauss, 2000) Cultural exhaustion and civic decay; Focus on talk over action; Focus on individuals rather than the group or society.

33 Service-Learning and Civic Engagement Quick review of three studies conducted by RMC Research over the past two years: –Freedom Schools Junior Leader Project (Philadelphia) –Hawaiian Studies Program (Hawaii) –Colorado Learn and Serve

34 Hawaii Service-Learning: Students’ Attitudes Toward Community RMC Research, Denver Note: * p <.05

35 Hawaii Study: Students’ Civic Attitudes CREDE Evaluation Report Note: * p <.05

36 Colorado Learn and Serve Results


38 Lots of Other Positive Outcomes Sense of efficacy Trust for adults Resilience and avoidance of risk behaviors Ethic of service and volunteerism Respect for diversity

39 Program Quality Indicators as Moderators of Engagement Two quality variables served as the greatest predictors in Michigan: –Communication and interaction with the community; and –Linkage with curriculum frameworks. –For younger students, all but one of the program quality variables (duration) had statistically significant relationships to outcomes.

40 Quality Mattered Having Essential Elements and other quality indicators in place made the difference in: –National study of service-learning for CNCS; –Colorado service-learning; –Michigan service-learning (but not all…).

41 Summary… Service-learning is a promising “value added” approach to teaching and learning that has potential for increasing academic achievement, civic engagement, and character/social emotional learning. Quality matters – will need professional development, link to standards, direct contact with community, others.

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