Our signature summer program proves it works in giving kids
a much needed boost in between school years

By Beth Malicki, Kids on Course Program Leader

For too many kids, summer means a time to slip further behind. Three months that drains away two months of schooling, maybe more. For children whose families earn below 185% of the poverty line ($37,166.50 for a family of three) they often lose up to three months of skills in math and reading over the summer. Children from wealthier families tend to gain skills over the summer, expanding the achievement gap even further.

According to research published in the American Sociological Review in 2007, summer learning loss accounts for about two-thirds of the ninth grade achievement gap in reading.

That’s why Kids on Course started Kids on Course University in the summer of 2013. That first summer we served about 60 students over the 4-week camp. The next year we had more than 100 elementary school students in attendance, and stretched the half-day camp to six weeks. This past summer, we had more than 180 students attend in rising 2nd – 6th grades, with nine certified teachers providing instruction in math, reading and writing.

Only students with an academic need in math or reading are invited to KCU. This free camp includes two meals a day, transportation, enrichment activities, and two parent nights. Classes are capped at 15 students and two adults lead each class. Our last camp was our most successful yet, and below are the results for KCU 2015 based on internal testing we administer week one and week six.

But for the first time in Kids on Course history, we were able to use district data to evaluate if the summer program had lasting effects. Based on Cedar Rapids Community School District data, 47% of the students in elementary schools who attended Kids on Course University ERASED summer slide according to Fall FAST aReading assessments. Of those students, 94% of them actually GAINED skills over the summer! 23% of those who experienced summer slide lost fewer than five aReading points. 

Growth of students during six weeks of KCU 2015 (this is internal testing, not done by CRCSD)

2nd graders writing skills grew – Total Words Written: 125%   Correct Words Sequence: 267%
2nd graders reading skills grew – CBM: 22%   Accuracy: 4%
2nd graders math skills grew 47%

3rd graders writing skills grew – Total Words Written: 31%   Correct Word Sequence: 100%
3rd graders reading skills grew – CBM: 10%   Accuracy: 2%
3rd graders math skills grew 221%

4th graders writing skills grew – Total Words Written: 67%   Correct Word Sequence: 60%
4th graders reading skills grew – CMB 8%   Accuracy: 1% (Accuracy level is at 99 which is proficient)
4th graders math skills grew 71%

5th graders writing skills grew – Total Words Written: 19%   Correct Word Sequence: 60%
5th graders reading skills grew – CBM 8%   Accuracy: no change (Accuracy level is at 98 which is proficient)
5th graders math skills grew 116%

6th graders writing skills grew – Total Words Written: 88%   Correct Word Sequence: 80%
6th graders reading skills grew – CBM: 26%   Accuracy: 1% (Accuracy level is at 96 which is proficient)
6th graders math skills grew 80%

Demographic data of KCU elementary students (grades 2-5)

– 84% eligible for Free/Reduced price lunches
– 44% non-white
– 25% English Language Learners
– 10% Special Education Students

 

KCU math and writing

KCU reading data