The K-12 Service-Learning Standards for Quality Practice were developed by the National Youth Leadership Council in partnership with other leaders in the service-learning field.

These standards represent service-learning best practices to ensure high-quality service-learning experiences that engage and empower youth to create positive change while developing academic and civic knowledge and skills.

Meaningful Service

Service-learning actively engages participants in meaningful and personally relevant service activities.

Link to Curriculum

Service-learning is intentionally used as an instructional strategy to meet learning goals and/or content standards.

Duration & Intensity

Service-learning has sufficient duration and intensity to address community needs and meet specified outcomes.


Service-learning incorporates multiple challenging reflection activities that are ongoing and that prompt deep thinking and analysis about oneself and one’s relationship to society.

Youth Voice

Service-learning provides youth with a strong voice in planning, implementing, and evaluating service-learning experiences with guidance from adults.

Progress Monitoring

Service-learning engages participants in an ongoing process to assess the quality of implementation and progress toward meeting specified goals, and uses results for improvement and sustainability.


Service-learning promotes understanding of diversity and mutual respect among all participants.


Service-learning partnerships are collaborative, mutually beneficial, and address community needs.