Learn and Serve America, Higher Education (LSAHE) aims to increase involvement in community service by higher education institutions and students. It emphasizes an approach to community service, called "service-learning," that focuses on the development of service providers as well as service recipients. As part of their evaluation of LSAHE, the authors surveyed students from institutions with LSAHE grants and the community service organizations the students served. Although service learning courses demanded more time from students than comparison courses, students showed a high level of satisfaction with them. Service-learning students were also more likely than comparison students to report that the course had increased their current or expected level of involvement in civic affairs and improved their life skills, but they were no more likely to report that the course had improved their academic skills or their career preparation. Community organization respondents gave students high marks for effectiveness, enthusiasm, and interpersonal skills, but felt that they lacked sufficient time for volunteer work. These findings point to the need to use "best practices" to ensure the quality of service-learning.
Originally published in: Change, v. 32, no. 2, March/April 2000, pp. 30-39.
This report is part of the RAND Corporation Reprint series. The Reprint was a product of the RAND Corporation from 1992 to 2011 that represented previously published journal articles, book chapters, and reports with the permission of the publisher. RAND reprints were formally reviewed in accordance with the publisher's editorial policy and compliant with RAND's rigorous quality assurance standards for quality and objectivity. For select current RAND journal articles, see External Publications.
Our mission to help improve policy and decisionmaking through research and analysis is enabled through our core values of quality and objectivity and our unwavering commitment to the highest level of integrity and ethical behavior. To help ensure our research and analysis are rigorous, objective, and nonpartisan, we subject our research publications to a robust and exacting quality-assurance process; avoid both the appearance and reality of financial and other conflicts of interest through staff training, project screening, and a policy of mandatory disclosure; and pursue transparency in our research engagements through our commitment to the open publication of our research findings and recommendations, disclosure of the source of funding of published research, and policies to ensure intellectual independence. For more information, visit www.rand.org/about/principles.
The RAND Corporation is a nonprofit institution that helps improve policy and decisionmaking through research and analysis. RAND's publications do not necessarily reflect the opinions of its research clients and sponsors.