ADVANCING RESEARCH, IMPROVING EDUCATION                               

The National Center for Family and Community Connections with Schools

Supporting School, Family, and Community Connections to Increase School Success

About the Center

Connection Collection

Annotation from the Connection Collection

You are viewing a record from the Connection Collection, a searchable annotated bibliography database. It links you with research-based information that you can use to connect schools, families, and communities.

Title:The effects of service-learning on middle school students’ social responsibility and academic success
Author:Scales, P. C., Blyth, D. A., & Berkas, T. H.
Resource Type:Journal Article
Journal of Early Adolescence, 20(3)

pp. 332-358
Education Level:Middle
Literature type:Research and Evaluation

The purpose of this study is to investigate the result of service learning on middle school students’ social responsibility and academic success. The authors found that service learning students maintained their sense of concern for others’ welfare and talked more with parents about school, as compared with control group students. Students with more than 30 hours of service learning improved their sense of efficacy in helping others. Students who reported doing high levels of reflection as part of their service learning experience additionally improved in their pursuit of good grades, maintained their perception that school provides personal development opportunities, and were more committed to their classwork than other students. No significant outcomes of service learning were observed on school engagement, perceived scholastic competence, intellectual achievement responsibility, grade point average, or conduct at school. Seventy schools with service learning programs were screened for participation in the study, with three schools ultimately selected, based on screening information, interviews, and site visits. Within each school, students were randomly assigned to either service learning or non-service learning groups, to provide in-school comparisons. A total of 1,153 students participated in the study. A series of ANCOVAs were conducted to compare the groups. This study suggests a number of variables related to school success that might be impacted by service learning projects. The definition of these variables may be useful to practitioners wanting to evaluate the various impacts of their service learning programs. The authors suggest several limitations of the study–first “the service learning programs studied appeared to be somewhat better than average but not decidedly high quality” and varied in content. Also, students in this study were not typical of the general population of students and there was some contamination between the study and control groups because of previous experiences with service learning.

Suggested Citation Style:

Free Webinar Series
The U.S. Department of Education and its partners invite you to view the archive for the webinar, Bringing it All Together: Family and Community Engagement Policies in Action, which took place on November 16, 2011.

This is the ninth and final webinar in the series, Achieving Excellence and Innovation in Family, School, and Community Engagement.