A Network Connecting School Leaders From Around The Globe
Service learning in K-12: Is it effective to improve student outcomes?
Marta Pellegrini, University of Cagliari (Italy)
Service learning for K-12 students is an educational strategy that involves a deliberate and explicit connection between community service and academic instruction. The aim is to link instruction to practical issues by including service activities and time for reflection. A recent Campbell Systematic review looked at the effect of service learning interventions on student outcomes in K-12. The review included experimental studies, and outcomes of interest were academic success and personal/social skills.
Results showed that the average effect size for service learning was +0.09 on student grade point average, with a higher effect in math (+0.21) than in English (+0.04). Other outcomes showed small positive results: reducing absenteeism in terms of days (+0.03), improving self-esteem (+0.13) and locus of control (+0.07).
The results do not suggest a definitive positive impact of service learning on student outcomes. The authors conclude that there is the need for further experimental studies on the effectiveness of service learning.