Masters Theses

Date of Award


Degree Type


Degree Name

Master of Science


Agriculture and Extension Education

Major Professor

Randol G. Waters


The purpose of this study was to develop an instrument that would measure practitioner knowledge of service-learning and to make recommendations based on information gathered in order to guide the statewide service-learning initiatives of Tennessee 4-H Youth Development and the Tennessee Department of Education. This study utilized a purposefully drawn sample. The sample consisted of University of Tennessee Agricultural Extension Service staff who had a 4-H appointment in their job description. The sample also consisted of participants in the Skills for Action service-learning training offered by the Tennessee Commission on National and Community Service and the Tennessee Department of Education. These two groups were utilized to give the instrument credibility with both school-based and community based practitioners of service-learning. The instrument was developed based upon the Points of Light Foundation model of service-learning. The instrument contained three sections. Section one gathered information related to the respondents' experience with service-learning. Section two measured knowledge of community needs, learning objectives, youth voice and planning, orientation and training, meaningful action, reflection, evaluation, and celebration and recognition. Section three gathered demographic information. After development of the instrument, a panel of experts examined it in order to establish a high level of content validity. The survey was conducted by a direct mailing. The survey was mailed to the sample with a cover letter outlining the need for the survey and that the survey was confidential. A self-addressed stamped envelope was included for return of the survey. The data were analyzed using the SPSS version 12.0 for Windows. Descriptive statistics including frequencies, percentages, means, modes, standard deviations, range, percents, and frequencies were utilized. Chi Squares, T-Tests, correlation coefficients, and coefficients of stability were used to analyze the relationships in the study. The .05 probability level was set a priori and was used to determine whether relationships were statistically significant. The following conclusions were based on the findings of this study: 1. Internal consistency of the survey instrument was well above the .66 level set a priori in the pilot and sample studies. 2. Internal consistency coefficients dropped dramatically in the test-retest study; with only five of the eight subscales measuring above the .66 level set a priori. 3. Stability of the survey instrument was low. 4. Tennessee Extension 4-H professionals self-report a slightly higher average number of days of service-learning training than do Tennessee K-12 educators. 5. Construct validity of the survey instrument was low. 6. Tennessee K 12 educators scored statistically significantly higher in all subscales of the instrument than did Tennessee Extension 4-H professionals. 7. Non-community-based advisors scored statistically significantly higher in all subscales of the instrument than did community-based advisors. 8. School-based advisors scored statistically significantly higher in the planning and implementation subscale than did non-school-based advisors. 9. Those who did not volunteer with 4-H Youth Development programs scored significantly higher with regards to the celebration and recognition subscale than did those who volunteer with 4-H Youth Development programs.

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