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.
Rebok, G. W., Parisi, J. M., Barron, J. S., Carlson, M. C., Diibor, I., Frick, K. D., Fried, L. P., Gruenewald, T. L., Huang, J., McGill, S., Ramsey, C. M., Romani, W. A., Seeman, T. E., Tan, E., Tanner, E. K., Xing, L., & Xue, Q. L. (2019). Impact of Experience Corps® participation on children's academic achievement and school behavior. Prevention Science, 20(4), 478–487. https://doi.org/10.1007/s11121-018-0972-8
Society for Prevention Research