Service Learning and Civic Responsibility: Assessing Aggregate and Individual Level Change
Randall, G. Kevin
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This study sought to expand the extant literature regarding the effectiveness of a higher education service-learning project designed to increase students’ civic and socially responsive knowledge and intentions. A class with a semester long service-learning component was administered a pre- and post-test assessment using multi-item scales to determine if a student’s sense of civic responsibility would increase. Our hypothesis predicting overall mean or aggregate change in civic responsibility was not affirmed by the paired t-tests or analysis of covariance tests. However, using growth curve modeling, we investigated between-individual differences in within-individual change. The study’s results demonstrated that significant variation in individual differences between time one and time two did exist. Particularly noteworthy was the finding that previous service-learning experience, outside the classroom setting, predicted the level of civic attitudes and predicted the level and change of civic action.