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Impact of Experience Corps® Participation on Children’s Academic Achievement and School Behavior

  • George W. RebokEmail author
  • Jeanine M. Parisi
  • Jeremy S. Barron
  • Michelle C. Carlson
  • Ike Diibor
  • Kevin D. Frick
  • Linda P. Fried
  • Tara L. Gruenewald
  • Jin Huang
  • Sylvia McGill
  • Christine M. Ramsey
  • William A. Romani
  • Teresa E. Seeman
  • Erwin Tan
  • Elizabeth K. Tanner
  • Li Xing
  • Qian-Li Xue
Article

Abstract

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.

Keywords

Academic achievement School behavior Childhood education Early intervention Older adult volunteers 

Notes

Acknowledgments

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

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.

Ethical Approval

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.

Informed Consent

For this type of study, formal consent is not required.

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Copyright information

© Society for Prevention Research 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  • George W. Rebok
    • 1
    • 2
    Email author return OK on get
  • Jeanine M. Parisi
    • 1
  • Jeremy S. Barron
    • 3
  • Michelle C. Carlson
    • 1
    • 2
  • Ike Diibor
    • 4
  • Kevin D. Frick
    • 5
  • Linda P. Fried
    • 6
  • Tara L. Gruenewald
    • 7
  • Jin Huang
    • 2
  • Sylvia McGill
    • 8
  • Christine M. Ramsey
    • 1
  • William A. Romani
    • 2
  • Teresa E. Seeman
    • 9
  • Erwin Tan
    • 10
  • Elizabeth K. Tanner
    • 2
    • 11
    • 12
  • Li Xing
    • 2
  • Qian-Li Xue
    • 2
    • 3
  1. 1.Department of Mental HealthJohns Hopkins University Bloomberg School of Public HealthBaltimoreUSA
  2. 2.Center on Aging and HealthJohns Hopkins UniversityBaltimoreUSA
  3. 3.Department of MedicineJohns Hopkins University School of MedicineBaltimoreUSA
  4. 4.Office of Assessment and Accountability, Baltimore City Public School SystemBaltimoreUSA
  5. 5.The John Hopkins Carey Business SchoolBaltimoreUSA
  6. 6.Mailman School of Public HealthColumbia UniversityNew YorkUSA
  7. 7.Department of PsychologyChapman UniversityOrangeUSA
  8. 8.Greater Homewood Community CorporationBaltimoreUSA
  9. 9.AARP Experience CorpsBaltimoreUSA
  10. 10.The University of California at Los AngelesLos AngelesUSA
  11. 11.Policy, Research and International Affairs, AARPWashingtonUSA
  12. 12.Johns Hopkins University School of NursingBaltimoreUSA

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