What Works for Summer Learning Programs for Low-Income Children and Youth: Preliminary Lessons from Experimental Evaluations of Social Intervention

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Child Trends/The Wallace Foundation

Preliminary evidence suggests that summer learning programs are an effective way to negate the learning loss that occurs over the summer. Such programs aim to support accelerated learning by keeping students engaged in academics for a period, typically four to eight weeks, during the summer. The study evaluated 11 summer learning programs that dealt with low-income and economically disadvantaged youth, who, according to the study, are the most likely to suffer learning loss over the summer.

Programs that were evaluated showed increased student achievement in math and reading. However, a direct correlation between summer learning programs and high school graduation and employment opportunities could not be found. The study recommends such improvements in summer learning programs as incorporating hands-on activities and limiting class size to 15 students. A summary of the study can be found at http://www.childtrends.org/Files//Child_Trends-2009_09_01_FS_WWSummerLearning.pdf. Free. 9 pages. The full study can be found at http://www.childtrends.org/Files//Child_Trends-2009_06_17_FR_SummerLearning.pdf. Free. 45 pages.