Saturday, March 2, 2013

K-1 At-Risk Summer School: Promising Results

This study examined the impact of a summer literacy program on kindergarten and first-grade students who were at moderate risk for reading difficulties in one Pacific Northwest school district. Study authors randomly assigned students to either receive an invitation to attend the summer school intervention or to serve as a comparison group where summer school attendance was not offered. The study assessed the effectiveness of the summer literacy program by comparing the achievement of the students in the intervention and comparison conditions.

Application of multiple regression models to difference scores capturing the change in summer reading fluency revealed that kindergarten students randomly assigned to summer school outperformed their control group peers by .60 of a standard deviation in an intent-to-treat analysis. For the first grade sample, the intent-to-treat estimate was over three quarters of a standard deviation. The contrast in performance was greater when the comparison was focused more specifically on the change in literacy between treatment participants (i.e., randomly assigned students who actually attended summer school) and students randomly assigned to the control group and in analyses that explicitly adjusted for non-compliance with treatment assignment.

These results support the experiential intuition of school district personnel regarding the benefits of summer school and suggest that targeted summer instruction can be a useful strategy to support student learning over the summer months.

WWC Review of the Report “Summer School Effects in a Randomized Field Trial”

WWC Rating : Meets Evidence Standards without reservations


Zvoch, K., & Stevens, J. J. (2012). Summer school effects in a randomized field trial. Early Childhood Research Quarterly, 28(1), 24–32. Retrieved from

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