Date of Award


Degree Type


Degree Name

Master of Education




Dr. J.M. Mangan



Quality of Experiences Acquired by Students During Ontario’s Community Involvement Activities.

This research study is an exploratory investigation of Ontario’s Community Involvement Activities(CIA). CIA are included as graduation requirements created as the result of the comprehensive overhaul of Ontario’s kindergarten (K) to grade 12 curriculum in the mid to late 1990s. At the time of the implementation of the CIA in 1999, there were teacher-organized volunteer programs operating in various Ontario secondary schools, but the Ministry had not previously demanded that any form of community service outside of normal instructional hours become a graduation requirement.

The goal of this exploratory study was to investigate the nature of the CIA, and the quality of students’ CIA experiences, contributing to new research in the field of community-based learning. Despite the CIA having existed now for six years, it has not previously been researched or evaluated for its effectiveness. Via an Internet questionnaire, the study queried students from the first and second groups to successfully finish their CIA. This research explores the quality of students’ experiences, covering areas of safety, students’ attitudes and recommendations, and the educational value of the program.

The findings of the study suggest that students feel that their involvement in the CIA program has resulted in generally positive and educational experiences. Although it is too early to determine if lifelong attitudes about community involvement have been affected by students’ participation in the CIA program, preliminary results suggest that the majority o f respondents reported feeling committed to volunteer in the future. However, the majority also reported that the activities did not enhance their education and that they were not the most rewarding experience o f their education program as the Ministry had suggested. They also recommended major design changes to the program. Other issues such as safety, employment, and training of students by their sponsors were also raised. In addition to these interesting empirical results, this study suggests some areas for further research, and offers some tentative recommendations for improvement of the program.



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