Research continues to highlight that summer learning interventions provided to the highest-risk students can reduce achievement gaps by promoting the growth of social, emotional and academic skills. But, there has been limited research on how staff practices can affect summer learning participation and relate to school success outcomes.

To help bridge this gap, the Weikart Center and the National Summer Learning Association (NSLA) partnered with national funders and expert practitioners to focus on improving summer learning programs through the Summer Learning Program Quality Intervention (SLPQI).

The SLPQI is an adaptation of the Youth Program Quality Intervention (YPQI) that builds the knowledge and motivates summer program teams to improve their instructional practices. The SLPQI includes:

  • quality standards for summer instructional practices
  • performance measures that describe fidelity to the quality standards – the Summer Learning Program Quality Assessment (SLPQA)
  • an improvement cycle that includes planning, assessment and improvement
  • quality improvement system (QIS) supports necessary to successfully implement the improvement cycle such as training, technical assistance and data products
What is unique about the SLPQI and SLPQA?

The Summer Learning PQA is specifically designed to measure the quality of staff instructional practices in both enrichment and academic settings that coexist in summer programs, as well as quality management practices that set the stage for successful staff engagement in summer programs. Substantial overlap with both the Youth and the School-Age PQA also provides a way for programs to seamlessly transition from school-year to summer quality improvement efforts.

A shortened program duration (roughly 37 weeks for afterschool and 4-12 weeks for summer) and the blending enrichment and academic programming, necessitate adjustment to how the assessment process is conducted by sites and networks. The SLPQI is built to remove the burden of data collection and reporting from program staff by relying on trained external assessors and builds in a more immediate data loop (48 hours after assessment) to allow for real time improvement and coaching.

What does the SLPQA Measure?

The SLPQA builds from the foundational structure and standards of the YPQA. In order to enhance the ability of the tool to measure broader programmatic elements that are unique to summer, elements of NSLA’s Comprehensive Assessment of Summer Programs (CASP) are also integrated into the new tool. Those who are familiar with the Youth and School-Age PQAs will notice that there are new scales reflecting positive youth development-based standards for academic instruction, particularly in the Engagement and Academic Content Area domains.

What is available and how can I learn more?

The Summer Learning PQA is available for you to download. A handbook to support the Summer Learning PQI process is available for purchase.

If you are interested in implementing the Summer Learning PQI or would simply like more information, contact us.

Changing the odds for young people has never been more important