Program

Mar 16, 2007

OVERVIEW

Experience Corps is a school-based program designed
to improve academic achievement and reduce disruptive classroom behavior in
urban elementary school students. The program is located in Baltimore, Maryland
and brings in older adult volunteers to serve in the classroom 15+ hours per
week. The program is designed to improve the learning readiness of
children in the areas of literacy and behavior. The experimental
evaluation of Experience Corps found that out of six randomly assigned
participating schools, those schools with students in Experience Corps scored
higher on a standardized reading test and had fewer office referrals for
classroom misbehavior than those schools whose students were not in the program.

DESCRIPTION OF PROGRAM

Target population: Children in grades
K-3

The
Experience Corps program was designed to impact the classroom behavior and
academic achievement of elementary school students in urban schools. The
program uses older adults who volunteer in classrooms 15+ hours a week.
Adult volunteers receive training and are placed in roles identified by school
principals as serving the greatest unmet need. Older adult volunteers
serve for an entire school year.

EVALUATION(S) OF PROGRAM

Rebok, G.W., Carlson, M.C., Glass, T.A., McGill, S., Hill, J., Wasik,
B.A., Ialongo, N., Frick, K.D., Fried, L.P., & Rasmussen, M.D. (2004).
Short-term impact of Experience Corps participation on children and schools:
Results from a pilot randomized trial. Journal of Urban Health, 81(1),
79-93.

Evaluated
population:
1194 K-3 students in 6 elementary schools in Baltimore, MD.

Approach: Three elementary schools were randomly assigned to receive the Experience
Corps program and three elementary schools were randomly assigned as control
schools. Approximately 95 percent of the students in the sample were
African-American and the rest were Caucasian/other. In total, 688
students were at the experimental schools and 506 students were at the control
schools. The students were assessed in fall 1999/winter 2000, and again
in spring/summer 2000.

The
researchers assessed child outcome measures using the PPVT-III, the Maryland
School Performance Assessment Program (MSPAP), the Comprehensive Test of Basic
Skills (CTBS), and through an assessment of Alphabet recognition. To
measure school and teacher outcomes, the researchers used a five-item measure
of teacher self-efficacy, a 20-item survey on teacher perceptions about seniors
in the classroom, and a teacher rating of school climate.

Results: Results of the program showed that at follow-up, MSPAP reading scores for
third graders in each of the treatment schools had increased. Two of the
control schools, however, reported decreases in scores and the third reported
only insignificant increases. Results from the CTBS test showed that students
in Experience Corps schools gained anywhere from 10 to 20 percentile points in
reading ranks whereas the control schools dropped from 4 to 6 percentile
points. Non-significant gains were found on tests of alphabet recognition and
vocabulary ability.

Two
of the three schools in the experimental group experienced a 50 percent drop in
the number of referrals to principals while the third school still reported a
drop of 34 percent. Control group schools did not experience a similar change
in the number of office referrals. While teachers reported high-perceived
teaching efficacy rates, there were no significant differences between teachers
in experimental and control schools. Similarly, there were no overall
differences found between the two groups for the school climate measure.
Researchers concluded that Experience Corps resulted in improvements in some
student reading achievement, academic achievement, and classroom behavior.

SOURCES FOR MORE INFORMATION

References:

Rebok,
G.W., Carlson, M.C., Glass, T.A., McGill, S., Hill, J., Wasik, B.A., Ialongo,
N., Frick, K.D., Fried, L.P., & Rasmussen, M.D. (2004). Short-term impact
of Experience Corps participation on children and schools: Results from a pilot
randomized trial. Journal of Urban Health, 81(1), 79-93.

Website:
http://www.experiencecorps.org/index.cfm

 

KEYWORDS: School-based, Behavioral Problems,
Disruptive Behavior Disorders, Urban, Kindergarten,
Elementary.

Program
information last updated 3/16/07

Subscribe to Child Trends

Short weekly updates of recent research on children and youth.