GEVIRTZ SUMMER ACADEMY
PRINCIPAL INVESTIGATORS: Dr. Mary E. Brenner, Dr. Cynthia Hudley, Dr. Shane Jimerson and Dr. Yukari Okamoto
The Gevirtz Summer Academy provided educational enrichment opportunities to 120 students as they progressed from third to sixth grade during 1998-2000, in an effort to maximize their educational growth. The Gevirtz Summer Academy was based upon the extended school year concept, which builds upon the learning that takes place during the regular school year. It was designed to provide continuity with the instructional program implemented during the year. The program was also based upon the latest research in extended year programs. It had curriculum and research components that were developed in collaboration with UCSB researchers and Santa Barbara School Districts' teachers and administrators.
The objectives of the Gevirtz Summer Academy were as follows:
Students from four Santa Barbara elementary schools (Franklin, Peabody, Roosevelt, and Washington) attended a five-week session in July and August over three years. The Gevirtz Summer Academy extended learning beyond the traditional school calendar year to minimize the summer learning loss that typically occurs. Highly motivational instructional programs were designed to meet the academic and linguistic needs of students. The instructional activities were taught in an experiential, integrated way combining science, mathematics and language arts. Classroom instruction was based on a 15:1 student/teacher ratio, with an additional full-time teacher aide per class, reducing the adult-student ratio to 1 to 7.5.
The evaluation began in summer 1998 and concluded with final data collection in spring and summer 2001, covering the three years of the Gevirtz Summer Academy. Four distinct areas were evaluated by different teams of researchers: Motivation, Language Arts, Science and Mathematics. Based on a premise that participation in an extended-year educational program maximizes students’ academic growth and school motivation, the research study not only evaluated the impact of program participation on students’ academic achievement but also their motivation for learning throughout the school year.
Language Arts, Mathematics, and Science Evaluation: The research team conducted a summative and formative evaluation of the new summer program with particular reference to children's academic achievement in language arts, math and science, as well as their attitudes towards science. The team also documented teachers' goals, the curriculum design, and the instructional strategies as implemented by each of the teachers.
Summative Evaluation: Standardized paper and pencil measures were used to measure achievement and motivation variables. The Stanford 9 Achievement Test was used to measure gains in language, mathematical knowledge, and science.
To measure attitudes, a science curiosity scale was administered to all children. In addition, Drs. Jimerson, Brenner and Okamoto collaborated with Dr. Cynthia Hudley to explore the relationship between motivational factors and achievement.
Formative Evaluation: The purposes of the formative evaluation were to document the specific goals set for language arts, mathematics and science instruction at each site and to document how these were achieved.
Motivation Research: The motivational and achievement research investigated the consequences of participation in a specific summer school enrichment program for elementary school students. Dr. Hudley was interested in how participation in the special program affected students' motivation over time. Summer school students and teachers completed measures of students' achievement motivation and teachers' instructional strategies. Student grades were also collected. During the academic year, summer school students and a comparison group of students completed measures of achievement motivation, and academic grades were collected again. Dr. Hudley expected student participants in the special program to perceive themselves as academically competent and to value academic activities, relative to non-participants. She also expected student participants in the special program to experience less of a decrease in intrinsic motivation for academic tasks as they progressed through elementary school and transitioned to middle school, relative to non-participants.
Summative Evaluation: Changes in standardized test scores in Math and Science occurred for children who attended the summer project. In the second and third year of the summer program, the children who attended the summer program made significant gains on the science and math test of the SAT9.
Three Year Comparison of Summer School versus Control Students in Mathematics and Science Achievement: The students who attended the summer school for all three years showed a significantly greater gain on the mathematics SAT9 than a matched control group for the same period. In the second and third year of the summer program, the children who attended the summer program made significant gains on the science SAT9.
Summer Learning on Curriculum Based Test- Science & Mathematics: In both years 1 and 3, students made significant learning gains on a curricular/standards based test in science. In year 3, the summer school participants made significant gains on a curricular/standards based test in Mathematics.
Language Arts SAT9 Results 1999- Language & Reading: The summer school group improved in the summer. The control group declined in performance over the summer.
Language Arts SAT9 2000- Language and Reading: The summer school group made significant gains in reading over the summer. The control group made gains in language scores, while there were no gains for the summer school students. An analysis of mean gains for reading comprehension, writing, words-per-minute, and reading expression indicated that summer school students made significant gains in reading comprehension, writing, and oral readaing skills.
Motivation Research: When compared to the control group, summer school students showed increased motivation for science, judged themselves to be significantly more competent in science, and reported increased aspirations and expectations of becoming scientists.
Motivation for Science: When compared to the control group, summer school students showed increased motivation for science in the fall of each year, indicating that the summer program had increased their motivation. All students showed a decline from fall to spring when they were in regular classrooms. Summer school students showed less of a decline in motivation than the comparison group. Summer school students were significantly more motivated in science than the comparison group in the spring, indicating that the benefits of summer school persisted over the regular academic year.
Students’ Reports of Science Competence: Summer school students judged themselves to be significantly more competent in science than did the comparison group after attending the summer program. Summer school students continued to judge themselves as more competent by the end of the following academic year. The teachers also judged the summer school participants as more competent in science, thus validating the students’ self-perception.
Students’ Aspirations and Expectations About Becoming Scientists: Summer school students increased their aspirations and expectations of becoming scientists after attending summer school. By the third year of the program, the summer school students were significantly more likely to aspire to and expect to become scientists than the comparison group. The strongest effect was found for the low-income children in the summer school program. By the end of the third year, they had increased their aspirations and expectations to the level of the higher-income children. Meanwhile, the comparison group of low-income children had decreased their aspirations and expectations over the same time period.