Other Youth Topics

Frequency & Trends of School Implementation

Studies show that, in the past, more than 4 million students from more than 20,000 schools participated in service-learning. Of these, high schools were most likely to engage students in community service or to include service-learning as part of their curriculum.1 All students, including those with disabilities (e.g. emotional and behavioral disorders, learning disabilities, moderate and severe intellectual disabilities, deaf and blind students), can be involved in and benefit from service-learning.2 Learn more about how service-learning can effectively include students with disabilities.

Traditionally, the number of schools that engaged students in community service was greater than the number of schools that offered service-learning as part of their curriculum. Consistently, about two-thirds of the public schools in the United States recognized or arranged community service, while only one-third of the schools offered service-learning.3 Service-learning is distinct from community service and volunteering because it focuses on meeting both the needs of the community and that of the learner through a mutually beneficial partnership. In addition, service-learning is integrated into academic curriculum and coursework as “a form of experiential learning which tests students’ higher order thinking skills while deepening their understanding of the subject matter, their community, and themselves.”4 It also aims to enhance civic engagement by incorporating instruction on social issues that extend beyond the immediate needs of individuals or projects.


1 Spring, Grimm, & Dietz, 2009
2 Dymond, Renzaglia, & Chung 2007
3 Skinner & Chapman, 1999; Spring, Grimm, & Dietz, 2009
4 Muscott, 2001 p. 10