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New Wallace Study Details Benefits of Summer Learning Programs

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Sep 02, 2016

The Wallace Foundation has released the largest-ever study of summer learning, finding that “students with high attendance in free, five to six-week, voluntary summer learning programs experienced educationally meaningful benefits in math and reading.”

The findings are particularly important given that low-income students often lose more educational ground over the summer as compared to more affluent peers. Wallace’s report, which was published by the RAND Corporation, suggests that robust, affordable summer learning programs can help to bridge that gap.

Some of the points of interest include:

  • The academic advantage for students with 20 or more days of attendance in a five-to-six-week voluntary summer program after the second summer translated to between 20 and 25 percent of typical annual gains in math and reading.
  • High attendance in voluntary summer programs isn’t the only factor in student outcomes. Students who received at least 25 hours of math or 34 hours of English Language Arts instruction did better than control group students on tests in fall 2013 and fall 2014.
  • RAND advises districts running voluntary summer programs to use historical data on no-show and attendance rates when deciding matters like how many teachers to hire and how much space is needed. If they don’t keep such records, they can refer to RAND’s findings—a 20-to-30-percent no-show rate and a 75-percent attendance rate—as a guide.

Read the full report here.

This resource brought to you by the National Guild for Community Arts Education.