The relationship between service learning and self-reported civic outcomes of college students based on selected demographic variables
This general purpose of this study was to examine the attitudes of service learning students in relation to demographic variables, civic responsibility, societal locus of control, and civic behavior. The demographic student characteristics used were gender, class standing, college major, volunteerism, and current work status. A secondary purpose of the study was to compare the civic responsibility, societal locus of control, and civic behavior of students majoring in Sport Administration with other college students. Subjects for the study (n = 469) were students enrolled at the University of Southern Mississippi during the Spring 2001 semester. Participants were asked to complete a twenty-two-question survey that addressed demographic variables, civic responsibility, societal locus of control, and civic behavior. Data from the survey revealed that the student participants exhibit a high level of civic responsibility and a relatively low level of civic behavior. Multivariate analysis of variance (MANOVA) and multiple regression analysis techniques were used to analyze the data. The .05 level of significance was used for all statistical tests. There was a statistically significant higher level of civic responsibility, societal locus of control, and civic behavior for students who have participated in service learning when compared to students who have not participated in service learning. The tests of between-subject effects also revealed that mean scores for each of the civic outcomes scales independently were higher for students who have participated in service learning when compared with students who have not participated in service learning. It appears that participation in service learning activities enhanced civic outcomes for Sport Administration students as well as students in other majors. Students that had been exposed to service learning exhibited desired qualities of good citizenship, with an extremely high level of civic responsibility. Although this study does not address academic issues, it does lend credence to the theory that service learning enhances the holistic educational experience of college students.