Can large urban school districts
successfully run high-quality summer learning programs? If so, how can
they do it? And what impact can these programs have on students?
are three of the questions Wallace, the RAND Corporation and five urban
school districts (Boston; Dallas; Duval County, Florida; Pittsburgh; and Rochester) have been exploring as part of the National Summer Learning
Project, a six-year effort to provide voluntary, district-led summer programs that offer a mix of academic instruction and enrichment—and test whether they help boost students’ success in school. To find out the answers, RAND conducted a randomized controlled trial (RCT), the largest of its kind.
The RCT focused on students who were in 3rd grade in spring, 2013. Students who signed up to take part in the districts’ summer learning programs were randomly selected to participate or not participate in the program for two summers (2013 and 2014). RAND has continued to gather a wide range of data from both groups of students through the 7th grade, including school year grades and attendance, student performance on standardized tests of math and reading, and measures of social-emotional skills. To learn more about the study and the results published to date, visit the
summer learning section of The Wallace Foundation’s Knowledge Center.