Summer Learning Program Profiles

About Summer Learning Profiles

Academic summer learning programs can lead to improved student achievement, but effectiveness is not guaranteed. Certain program elements, such as duration, attendance, use of time, and quality of instruction, appear to be key factors in programs that show stronger academic benefits. But, as helpful as evidence-based design principles are, using research to inform programs that maximize academic growth and social-emotional outcomes is a complicated process. Even once researchers have identified likely drivers of effectiveness across programs, these design principles often cannot be easily replicated across districts with varying contexts and goals. This series of program profiles provides a glimpse into how different districts in Rhode Island and Tennessee created programs that align with design principles in some respects and diverge at other points. These are not meant to be overviews of perfect programs, but rather real-world examples of what developing a research-aligned program looks like in practice. The intent here is to highlight possible choices and tradeoffs to gain a clearer sense of how districts balanced research recommendations, program goals, and local priorities.