Summer Learning Loss Turns into Summer Learning Gain
SAN JOSE, CA. – Some 1,500 students in Silicon Valley’s largest and most successful summer math program have taken an exciting leap ahead in math proficiency after completing the 4-week course this year, test results released this week show.
The students took part in the “Stepping Up to Algebra/Math Acceleration Program,” sponsored jointly by non-profits Silicon Valley Education Foundation, ALearn and Hispanic Foundation of Silicon Valley. The program targeted middle school students who underperform in math and prepares them for math success in high school and college entry.
The students showed a 20-percentage-point gain in math proficiency at the end of four weeks, which program sponsors called significant. Results were released Aug. 25 at an event recognizing program donors and participating school districts, which was attended by more than 70 Silicon Valley corporate leaders, educators, students and program volunteers.
The 4-week, 4-hour-a-day summer program helps entering 7th and 8th graders prepare for Algebra I, considered to be a “gateway” subject that opens the door to college prep math coursework in high school and eventually college. This is the fourth year of the summer math program, the largest, most effective program aimed at narrowing the student achievement gap between ethnic groups.
Designed for students scoring below proficiency in state standardized math tests, the program engaged students in interactive instruction and computer exercises that addressed common gaps and misconceptions in math. This year’s program more than doubled enrollment from last year’s 850 students and expanded from 9 to 15 school districts, including South County newcomers Morgan Hill and Gilroy.
The program served students who were largely from low-income and minority families. It was a critical summer support program for Santa Clara County schools that are struggling with fewer resources because of elimination of virtually all summer school classes.
Test results showed the 7th and 8th graders averaged an overall 20-percentage-point improvement in math understanding of key foundational concepts needed for success in algebra. More specifically, they showed gains in understanding fractions, rational numbers and operations and word problems. Since many of the students are from English learner families, emphasis was made on interactive learning and comprehending word problems.
According to a survey taken after the program, 93% of students said they now liked doing math. Ninety-five percent stated they wanted to complete a 4-year college, and 58% said they wanted to pursue an advanced degree in engineering, medicine or other professional occupation.
Testing was administered at the beginning and end of the program. Added this year was a technology component – computer exercises and challenges provided by Khan Academy and MIND Research that students could access in classrooms.
“We are thrilled to see such progress in learning as our program more than doubled enrollment this year and had a bigger impact with the new program directions we presented,” said SVEF CEO Muhammed Chaudhry. “We hope to see these students continue to make solid progress when they go back to their own math classes this fall. This program will push them ahead of their peers.”
“We turned summer learning loss into summer learning gains for students,” said Kathryn Hanson, founder and CEO of ALearn. “We provided an engaging, fun program with college information nights, college trips and end-program celebrations that included families and many students who will be the first to go to college. Our program makes sure we get more students on a college path by addressing the key gatekeeper course where they often fall behind – math.”
The SUTA/MAP program is part of the non-profits’ initiative to increase the number of students going to college and on to successful careers, improve education for underperforming students and help close the achievement gap. The program utilized college students as teaching assistants and took students on visits to Santa Clara and San Jose State universities.
“Hundreds of Latino students have been injected with math and algebra skills that will lead them to a successful college education,” said HFSV CEO Ron Gonzales. “Closing the Latino student achievement gap is our foundation’s No. 1 priority. We are delighted to be a partner in this program that is closing that gap for Silicon Valley Latino students.”
Participating school districts included Alum Rock, Berryessa, Campbell, Evergreen, Franklin-McKinley, Gilroy, Milpitas, Morgan Hill, Mount Pleasant, Oak Grove, Orchard, San Jose Unified, Santa Clara Unified, Sunnyvale and Union School District, as well as ACE Charter School.
This year’s program was made possible by grants from the Silicon Valley Community Foundation, SAP, Target, SanDisk, Leo Shortino Foundation, Google, Walmart, Yahoo, and many others.
Silicon Valley Education Foundation focuses on raising student performance in the critical areas of math and science across all Santa Clara County school districts. Our goal is to be the leading advocate for public education with the largest percentage of high school graduates prepared for college and career success in our region. We are known for our focus on achieving results, partnering, and emphasizing creativity and innovation. For more information about SVEF programs, visit www.svefoundation.org.
ALearn is a non-profit organization committed to helping under-represented students get to and succeed in college. Our programs enhance the opportunities, access and advancement to college for students who will be the first in their family to go to college. Visit www.alearn.org