Impact of Experience Corps® Participation on Children’s Academic Achievement and School Behavior
This article reports on the impact of the Experience Corps® (EC) Baltimore program, an intergenerational, school-based program aimed at improving academic achievement and reducing disruptive school behavior in urban, elementary school students in Kindergarten through third grade (K-3). Teams of adult volunteers aged 60 and older were placed in public schools, serving 15 h or more per week, to perform meaningful and important roles to improve the educational outcomes of children and the health and well-being of volunteers. Findings indicate no significant impact of the EC program on standardized reading or mathematical achievement test scores among children in grades 1–3 exposed to the program. K-1st grade students in EC schools had fewer principal office referrals compared to K-1st grade students in matched control schools during their second year in the EC program; second graders in EC schools had fewer suspensions and expulsions than second graders in non-EC schools during their first year in the EC program. In general, both boys and girls appeared to benefit from the EC program in school behavior. The results suggest that a volunteer engagement program for older adults can be modestly effective for improving selective aspects of classroom behavior among elementary school students in under-resourced, urban schools, but there were no significant improvements in academic achievement. More work is needed to identify individual- and school-level factors that may help account for these results.
KeywordsAcademic achievement School behavior Childhood education Early intervention Older adult volunteers
We would like to thank the Baltimore City Public School System for their efforts in helping us acquire and interpret the academic and behavioral outcomes data. The opinions expressed in this article are those of the authors and do not represent the official position of the National Institute on Aging.
Funding for this manuscript was provided by the National Institute on Aging under contract P30-AG02133, the Harry and Jeanette Weinberg Foundation, Erickson Foundation, Baltimore City: Baltimore City Public School System, and state and federal grants from AmeriCorps.
Compliance with Ethical Standards
Conflict of Interest
The authors declare that they have no conflicts of interest.
All procedures performed in studies involving human participants were in accordance with the ethical standards of the institutional and/or national research committee and with the 1964 Helsinki declaration and its later amendments or comparable ethical standards.
For this type of study, formal consent is not required.
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