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In 2013, the David P. Weikart Center (Weikart Center) and National Summer Learning Association (NSLA) began a collaboration to improve the quality of summer learning programs. The Summer Learning Program Quality Intervention (SLPQI) is a continuous improvement intervention for summer learning programs that includes four core components: (1) a standard and measures for quality of management and instructional practices – and the Summer Learning Program Quality Assessment (Summer Learning PQA); (2) training and technical assistance supports, (3) performance data products and (4) a continuous improvement cycle that fits the prior three elements to local circumstances and resources. The SLPQI and the Summer Learning PQA were designed to advance the science and practice of continuous improvement by focusing on qualities of learner experience that optimize skill building in specific domains, active-participatory and academic.
This report provides findings for an evaluation of the implementation of the SLPQI in 32 summer learning programs in Grand Rapids, Mich., Northern California, and Seattle, Wash. The evaluation addressed feasibility of implementation, customer satisfaction and the effectiveness of the Summer Learning PQA to differentiate higher from lower quality programs. Key findings include: (1) overall satisfaction with SLPQI and Summer Learning PQA was high; (2) implementation of SLPQI was uneven across sites, although partially by design; (3) readiness for SLPQI can be characterized by several key features and timing is the greatest challenge; (4) precision and meaningfulness of Summer Learning PQA data is promising; (5) summer learning programs contained a mix of higher and lower quality features, with differing profiles for active-participatory versus academic instructional quality.