Students who attended a voluntary, district-led summer learning program in Jacksonville entered school in the fall with stronger mathematics skills than their peers who did not attend the program, according to a RAND Corporation study issued today.
Duval County Public Schools' results are part of a six-year study of summer learning programs in five urban areas. The study is the most comprehensive and scientific research on summer learning to date.
The Wallace Foundation, who funded the study, also announced plans to make an additional investment to extend summer programs in Duval County Public Schools and the four other districts for two more summers, for technical assistance to the districts and to develop additional knowledge and tools for field-wide use.
Students who took part in the summer learning program gained a meaningful advantage over their control student peers, equivalent to more than one-fifth of the amount of growth in math skills achieved by the typical student between the spring of 3rd grade and the spring of 4th grade.
All students in the study were in the third grade as of spring 2013 and enrolled in a public school. Researchers used a randomized controlled trial to assess the effects of district-run voluntary summer programs on student achievement and social and emotional skills in the fall after the students participated in the summer program.
The next report, which will be released in 2015, will describe the effect of one summer of programming on achievement, attendance and behavior during the 2013-2014 school year. Subsequent reports in 2016 will assess the impact of two consecutive years of voluntary summer programming for urban students and the cost of this programming.
The full report is available online.
-- Trey Csar