Document Type


Publication Date

Spring 1997

Publication Title

NSEE Quarterly

First Page


Last Page



Findings from most studies on the impacts of service-learning on K-12 students tend to be based on one assessment too/focusing on one construct (e.g., self-esteem, civic participation, etc.). While conventional research wisdom tells us that this approach is more statistically stable, it does not seem to be adequate for studying service-learning programs. Both service-learning and experiential education researchers face several dilemmas in determining the effects of service-learning activities on students' educational development. The idiosyncratic nature of the program activities, the lack of well-tested assessment instruments, the confounding influences on students learning, etc., make service-learning research a challenging and difficult endeavor. Several researchers are grappling with these dilemmas by inventing new assessment tools and creative practices that attempt to get at the core issues of service-learning in K-12 education. An increasing number of researchers are relying on grand assessments, using a selective collection of methodologies and assessment instruments, to capture the full range of potential outcomes. Here are reports of two such research studies.