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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.


This is a pre-copy-editing, author-produced PDF of an article accepted for publication in Prevention Science, volume 20, issue 4, in 2019 following peer review. The definitive publisher-authenticated version is available online at


Society for Prevention Research



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