Studying student benefits of assigning a service-learning project compared to a traditional final project in a business statistics class
The present study addresses the efficacy of using service-learning methods to meet the GAISE guidelines (http:// www.amstat.org/education/gaise/GAISECollege.htm) in a second business statistics course and further explores potential advantages of assigning a service-learning (SL) project as compared to the traditional statistics project assignment. Second semester business students were given the choice of participating in a SL project or doing a traditional project assignment. When the projects were completed, students reflected on their experiences via survey. Both groups responded equally (agree or strongly agree) to the Likert scale questions: 96.15% reinforced learning objectives, 98.08% applied to real world, 84.62% positive experience. Responses to the open ended questions revealed that more students in the SL group (p = 0.019) wrote about the benefits of dealing with real world data, more SL students felt their work benefited others (65% felt their statistical expertise was valuable) and more (p=0.005) SL students felt that the experience will help them in future classes. These results suggest that while both groups were able to effectively support the GAISE guidelines, participation in the SL option offered an enhanced learning experience that included elements of social responsibility and personal growth. The experience was perceived more enjoyable and relevant to the real world adding elements of student empowerment while assisting a local agency in need of statistical expertise suggesting one can reap positive learning benefits by introducing service-learning pedagogy into a non-majors statistics course. © 2008 by Amy L. Phelps and Lina Dostilio.