Students who Show Up for Summer Learning Benefit, New Study Finds

One of our ALN organizations, Carnegie Mellon's School of Architecture, was an activity provider for the Pittsburgh Public Schools Summer Dreamers Academy program in the summer of 2015 and 2016. A new study has been published showing elementary school students with high attendance at public school summer learning programs benefit in math and reading, according to a new national study. High attendance was defined as at least 20 days of a 5-6 week program.

Pittsburgh Public Schools was one of five urban school districts taking part in the study, which was conducted by The RAND Corporation and supported by The Wallace Foundation. CMU's Architecture Explorations program was a partner, providing afternoon learning activities for 3rd-5th graders.

The study is the largest ever conducted of summer learning programs. Results are based on an analysis of outcomes for nearly 3,200 students nationwide. The benefits for high-attending students after the second summer are equal to about 20 to 25 percent of typical annual gains in math and reading. There is also evidence that students benefit in social and emotional skills, as well, though the researchers cannot be as confident that these benefits are most likely due to the program.

This study, published in the new RAND report, Learning from Summer: Effects of Voluntary Summer Programs on Low-Income Youth, makes it clear: summer can be a time for students to have fun and get ready for academic success.