Augus 25, 2016

This summer we administered a pre and post diagnostic to all SDS students. The diagnostics were based on the students aptitude with 8th grade reading and math material.  The reason 8th grade level math and reading were chosen was that these are the baselines for high school readiness tests and the TABE tests used to evaluate career readiness and GED placement. The scores are based on two 20 question (10 reading comprehension/10 math) diagnostics administered to the students at the beginning and end of the program respectively.  Students that have only completed the 7th grade were ommitted and results including and excluding the SAT cohort are presented.  This is because the 12-student SAT cohort receives a more academically targeted intervention throughout the summer that does not accurately represent the experience of most students engaging in the SDS program which has a level of immersion in math and reading in a less directly instructional and targeted manner.

Results:

Non-SAT cohort students evidenced no learning loss over the course of the 7-weeks.  Their reading scores improved by 1% from the pre-diagnostic to the post diagnostic. Their math scores improved by 2% from the pre-diagnostic to the post diagnostic.  This cohort experienced a 1% improvement in their overall scores from the pre-diagnostic to the post-diagnostic.

SAT cohort students evidenced no learning loss over the course of the 7-weeks. Their reading scores improved by 10% from the pre-diagnostic to the post diagnostic. Their math scores improved by 17% from the pre-diagnostic to the post diagnostic. This cohort experienced a 13% improvement in their overall scores from the pre-diagnostic to the post-diagnostic.

The entire SDS cohort combined evidenced no learning loss over the course of the 7-weeks. Their reading scores improved by 3% from the pre-diagnostic to the post diagnostic. Their math scores improved by 5% from the pre-diagnostic to the post diagnostic. The combined cohort experienced a 4% improvement in their overall scores from the pre-diagnostic to the post-diagnostic.

According to the National Summer Learning Association, who is funding the AmeriCorps service scholarships our students earned this summer, low-income students lose two to three months in reading achievement over the summer, while their higher-income peers tend to make slight gains. Additionally, most students lose about two months of grade-level equivalency in math skills during the summer.

Although our assessments will be more grade-specific in the future, this first attempt at tracking summer learning loss suggests that SDS 2016 was an effective deterrent to the phenomenon.