Summer learning loss is responsible for declines in academic development among all children. One of the most effective strategies for impacting student achievement – accelerated summer learning programs – has gone virtually unused, and this is particularly true in low-income communities where students face the steepest declines in learning over the summer months.
THE SUMMER ADVANTAGE USA PROGRAM
Summer Advantage USA partners with schools and school districts to provide scientifically proven, cost efficient summer learning programs with the following core elements:
- Maximizing Learning Time: Program typically operates 6.5 hours per day, 5 days per week, for 5 weeks, with programs varying in length across communities.
- Outstanding Instruction and Mentoring: Classes led by highly qualified certified teachers and college students teacher’s assistants (2 staff-to-24 scholars in each class).
- Parental Involvement: Parent/teacher meetings, workshops, and involvement in field trips and other activities.
- Skill-based Curricula: Research based, culturally sensitive curricula is aligned with state and national learning standards.
- Fun Activities: Enrichment activities including art, music, drama, gym, field trips, and service projects.
- Rigorous Evaluation: Standardized pre- and post-tests.
- 8:30 – 9:00 – Breakfast and Community Time
- 9:00 – 12:00 – Literacy and Math
- 12:00 – 1:00 – Lunch and Recess
- 1:00 – 3:00 – Enrichment Activities such as art, music and gym
- 3:00 – Program Ends
- 8:30 – 3:00 – Field Trips, Inspirational Guest Speakers, and Other Activities
Participation in quality summer learning programs makes a 5 month difference annually in the learning achievements of children, illustrated below:
Over the summer months, Summer Advantage USA scholars progress further in mathematics, reading, and language usage than the national average, according to NWEA RIT Scale data comparing 2.8 million students nationwide.
Summer Advantage scholars also make significant gains in reading according to the Gates-MacGinitie evaluation tool:
- Approximately 3 months of reading skills gain over the 5-week period. Grade-equivalent scores relate students’ scores to the typical performance of students in specified grades tested in given month of the school year.
- Over 6 NCE units gain in reading, indicating that on average scholars outpace students nationally. Normal Curve Equivalents (NCE) show a student’s relative position compared to others in the same grade and tested at the same time of year. A gain in NCE units indicates that the student has “grown” more than the norm group. The average student demonstrates no change and generally maintains his/her position for an NCE gain of zero over the summer.
- An improvement of nearly ten percentage points in comparison to peers nationwide, moving from the 42nd to the 51st national percentile rank. Percentile ranks range from a low of 1 to a high of 99, with 50 representing the middle score and denoting average performance.
Parental Satisfaction – According to a survey of parents of Summer Advantage USA scholars:
- 97% of parents strongly recommend the program to other parents;
- 95% of parents report that they are very satisfied with the program; and
- 91% of parents report that their children enjoy the program.
Teacher Satisfaction – According to a survey of Summer Advantage USA teachers:
- 98% of teachers feel Summer Advantage developed their professional skills;
- 98% of teachers recommend the program to parents; and
- 97% of teachers wish to serve with Summer Advantage again next summer.
Scholar Satisfaction – According to a survey of Summer Advantage USA scholars:
- 96% felt that the adults at Summer Advantage care about them;
- 95% reported they like to learn; and
- 89% attended the program daily.
ISTEP scores for third-graders at Lynwood Elementary, the poorest school in Decatur Township, increased nearly 16 percentage points in language arts and nearly 12 percentage points in math from 2009 to this year. “Those are real numbers, and Summer Advantage is a huge part of that improvement.” – Don Stinson, Superintendent of Decatur Township
It only took a few weeks for Winfred Weah to notice something peculiar about his two sons, who were enrolled in [Summer Advantage] this year. “They would pick a book without being told to read the book,” Weah said. Weah’s oldest son, Winfred, said he’s glad he completed the program. “It’s fun. It’s good. You learn stuff. You want to be more.” – Excerpt from Indy Star, Program Aims to Stop Summer Learning Loss