Indy Summer Learning Labs drive second year of double-digit math and reading learning gains
A study from the Indiana Department of Education found 2021 ISLL participants had statistically significant gains in learning above pre-pandemic rates of learning
(November 11, 2022) – INDIANAPOLIS – For the second consecutive year, Marion County students who attended Indy Summer Learning Labs (ISLL), a five-week, free or low-cost summer learning and enrichment program, saw double-digit proficiency point gains in English/language arts (ELA) and math, according to data released today from The Mind Trust and United Way of Central Indiana. The Labs served 5,000 Marion County students at 39 schools and community learning centers across Indianapolis in June and July of this year.
ISLL was launched in 2021 by The Mind Trust and United Way of Central Indiana to help Indianapolis students accelerate learning over the summer break following disruptions caused by the COVID-19 pandemic. Indy Summer Learning Labs was funded by a $500,000 launch investment from United Way of Central Indiana and The Mind Trust, with an additional $15.2 million in total funding support from the Indiana Department of Education through the state’s Student Learning Recovery Grant program over the last two years.
The program was open to all 1st through 9th grade students in Indianapolis, with an intentional focus on serving students who may not normally have access to high-quality summer programming. ISLL hired more than 100 licensed teachers to deliver instruction. A rigorous curriculum, designed by Lavinia Group aligned with Indiana state English and math standards was used at each site. Students took a pre- and post-assessment to measure the academic impact of the program. Each site also created enrichment activities for their students, such as field trips to museums, arts and crafts projects, and outdoor activities that made the experience fun and appealing to students.
Notable program-wide results include:
- A 25 percentage point increase in basic and proficient scores for English/language arts from pre- to post-assessment.
- A 24 percentage point increase in basic and proficient scores for math from pre- to post-assessment.
- Students achieved an average ELA and math score improvement of 15 percentage points from beginning- to end-of-program.
- Enrollment increased from almost 3,000 students served in 2021 to 5,000 students served in 2022.
- 93% of participating families surveyed rated their experience as good or great.
In 2022, 79% of students attending ISLL identified as a person of color, with 59% identifying as Black and 16% identifying as Latino. Sixty-eight percent of ISLL students qualified for the federal free or reduced-price lunch program.
“The Mind Trust is proud of the tremendous impact Indy Summer Learning Labs has made to help Marion County students accelerate learning over summer break,” said Brandon Brown, CEO of The Mind Trust. “We are thrilled to have partnered with United Way of Central Indiana to provide this nationally-unique program to thousands of Indianapolis students. The enrollment growth and academic success of Indy Summer Learning Labs shows how impactful high-quality summer programming can be for students.”
“The proof is really in the data,” said Fred Payne, president and CEO of United Way of Central Indiana. “The data shows that the learning labs help students grow academically during the summer, instead of seeing that ‘summer slide.’ We’re grateful to have worked with The Mind Trust on another successful year.”
Learning gains for multiple student groups
In addition to program-wide results, ISLL also drove academic gains for students of color, students who qualified for free or reduced-price lunch, and special education students. All results measure percentage point gains from pre- to post-assessment.
Black students achieved:
- A 24 percentage point gain in basic and proficient scores for ELA and
- A 22 percentage point gain in math.
Latino students achieved:
- A 30 percentage point gain in basic and proficient scores for ELA and
- A 29 percentage point gain in math.
Students who qualify for free or reduced-price lunch achieved:
- A 23 percentage point gain in basic and proficient scores for ELA and
- A 22 percentage point gain in math.
ISLL was effective in serving students equitably. Student learning gains for Black and low-income students were similar to those of white students, who achieved a 24 percentage point gain in basic and proficient scores for ELA and a 20 percentage point gain in math from pre- to post-assessment. Latino student achievement was notably strong, a clear marker of ISLL’s potential to eliminate achievement gaps and accelerate learning for historically marginalized students.
A recent study from the Indiana Department of Education (IDOE) analyzed learning growth data for students who attended programs funded by the Student Learning Recovery Grant administered by IDOE in 2021. IDOE focused the study analysis on the rate of learning for students participating in the Indy Summer Learning Labs. Students who participated in Indy Summer Learning Labs during the summer of 2021 indicated statistically significant gains in learning above pre-pandemic rates of learning.
“It takes all of us – educators, families and community partners – working together to help students accelerate their learning following the significant impacts caused by the pandemic,” said Dr. Katie Jenner, Indiana Secretary of Education. “United Way of Central Indiana and The Mind Trust jumped right in from the beginning, leveraging state grant dollars to aggressively pursue innovative solutions for our students and clearly defining how the impact of our combined investments would be measured. We’re thankful for their partnership and the impact they continue to make for Indiana’s students.”
About United Way of Central Indiana
United Way is a community of donors, advocates, volunteers and partners who fight for the health, education and financial stability of every person in every community. United Way invites all members of our community to LIVE UNITED by giving, advocating and volunteering to improve lives in Central Indiana. Visit www.uwci.org to learn more.
About The Mind Trust
The Mind Trust is an Indianapolis-based education nonprofit that works to build a system of schools that gives every student, no exceptions, access to a high-quality education. The Mind Trust does this by building a supportive environment for schools through policy and community engagement, empowering talented, diverse educators to launch new schools, and providing existing schools with the support they need to hire world-class talent and achieve excellence. Since 2006, The Mind Trust has supported the launch of 49 schools, 15 education nonprofit organizations, and has helped place more than 1,800 teachers and school leaders in Indianapolis classrooms.