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Give a summer for School A_20150507

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Analysis of the summer participation, future summer plans, and barriers to summer programs for a Boston area middle school’s students (grades 6 – 7) and areas for action.

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Give a summer for School A_20150507

  1. 1. GIVE A SUMMER FOR SCHOOLA Analysis of the summer participation, future summer plans, and barriers to summer programs for a Boston area middle school’s students (grades 6 – 7) and areas for action. Prepared by Give a Summer ramon@giveasummer.org GiveaSummer.org May 2015
  2. 2. Background on report • This is the public version of a report prepared by Give a Summer for a Boston area middle school analyzing the summer participation, future plans, and barriers facing their middle school students. The school is referenced throughout the report as “school A.” • Give a Summer worked with three peer schools, and when relevant, noted differences between the schools. The other two schools are noted as “school B” and “school C.” • With all three schools’ approval, Give a Summer is releasing public versions of the three school reports as further examples of how communities can better understand and support youth participation in summer opportunities. • Give a Summer believes that getting communities to collect and analyze data about where and why kids miss out on summer programs will: • improve youth access to summer programs by broadly identifying high-need areas and barriers to summer program participation • empower youth-serving organizations, such as schools and mentoring organizations, to more effectively target and support individual students to make great summer plans • strengthen advocacy efforts by clarifying the need for opportunities • increase public accountability for improvement 2
  3. 3. Outline of presentation • Executive Summary • Findings: Previous summer participation • Findings: Previous summer enjoyment • Findings: Upcoming summer plans • Findings: Interest by type of program • Findings: Barriers to summer participation • Areas for action • Areas for investigation • Appendix 3 Slide # 4 7 8 9 11 15 21 23 24
  4. 4. Executive summary: key facts Past attendance: 40% of students attended a program last summer, with participation rising from 30% of 6th graders to 50% of 7th graders. Across the three schools, 50% of students went to a program. Satisfaction: Students enjoy their programs: more than 75% of students rated their program a 4 or 5 (out of 5), with about 50% giving it a 5. Satisfaction was higher among 7th graders. School A satisfaction was in line with the three schools as a whole. Future plans: Students have strong interest in attending a program, with 50% interested and another 40% not sure. Types of summer programs: Students are well matched with programs: the types of programs students attend are similar to the types of programs they want to go to (consistent also with students’ high satisfaction with their programs), though more students want to go to overnight camps than have attended in the past. Barriers: The three biggest barriers to summer participation are i) lack of interest in summer program options, ii) expense of programs, iii) and conflicting schedules with family vacations. Expense of programs and difficulty getting to programs were the biggest relative barriers for students who did not attend a program last year (versus the reported barriers of students who did attend programs). Barriers were higher for 6th graders. 4
  5. 5. Executive summary: key actions Increase participation for 6th graders. 6th graders attend programs half as often as 7th graders. Though they enjoy their programs a bit less, they are similarly interested in attending a program next year. Program expense and lack of transportation are crucial swing factors for 6th graders. One key question is whether support should go to rising 5th graders or to the students who are now sixth graders. Highlight programs that are low cost or have flexible schedules to accommodate family vacation plans: In addition to lack of interest in program options, these were the biggest barriers to participation, both for students who want to attend a program this summer and for students who are not sure. Lack of interest in program options matters but can be solved. This was the largest overall barrier and a differentiator between students who did and did not attend a program last year. Yet students who reported a lack of programs that interest them have nearly the same program interests as students who went to programs last year or who want to go to a program this summer. One approach is to recommend to students unexcited by their options some of the great programs students have previously enjoyed. Personalize support to students interested in attending but who didn’t last year or who are unsure about attending but only have one or two ‘big deal’ barriers. 18 students fall into the first category and 22 more students are in the second group. Personal outreach to these students could be particularly effective to help them access summer opportunities. 5
  6. 6. Executive summary: key questions Is lower 6th grade participation last summer a reflection of support and opportunities available to 5th graders or particular dynamics among these current 6th grade students? • One indication that current 6th grade students still need help is that their barrier ratings are moderately higher than current 7th graders, though they could be reporting more on barriers they faced as 5th graders last year. • Impact: direct help at most in-need students to increase participation What are parent perspectives on barriers to summer program participation? • Impact: improve efforts to expand summer access by incorporating influential parent perspective When and for how long do families take vacations? • Depending on when and for how long families take vacations, there are different ways to best support summer opportunities for students: highlighting programs in July for families that take August vacations or recommending week by week programs for families that travel in July. • Impact: better target communication and suggestions to students’ and families’ needs. How do students’ plans for summer participation compare to their actual summer participation? • Knowing how well students’ plans for the summer match their outcomes would inform how much do you want to concentrate on students who are not sure of their plans vs. working more equally with all students. For now, I’ve assumed that students’ plans match their participation fairly well. • Impact: more effectively help students access summer opportunities 6
  7. 7. Findings: summer program participation 7 • Overall participation of about 40% is typical for Boston, though lower than the average for these three schools (overall participation in the three schools was 50%) • 6th grade participation is low and an area for action Did you attend a summer program last summer?
  8. 8. Findings: summer program enjoyment 8 • Students enjoy their programs, with 75% rating it a 5 or 4 (out of 5) and an average score of 4.0 • 7th graders rated their programs a 5 almost twice as often as 6th graders. Still, both grades had fairly high satisfaction overall. • Overall satisfaction was consistent with the the three schools as a whole, though 6th satisfaction was lower (with school A’s 6th graders reporting an average satisfaction of 3.8 vs. 4.5 for school C, though school B only scored 3.6). Did you enjoy the program? (5 is yes, 1 is no)
  9. 9. Findings: upcoming summer plans 9 • Students have a strong interest in attending a summer program, with 50% interested and another 40% on the fence. Remarkably few students are not interested in programs. • Interest in programs is very similar across grades, at odds with lower participation among 6th graders and evidence that 6th grade participation could be increased. • Student interest was similar to school B though somewhat behind school C. Do you want to attend a summer program this coming summer?
  10. 10. Findings: upcoming summer plans vs. previous participation 10 • Student interest in attending a program this summer outpaces their attendance at programs last summer, and this is especially true for 6th graders. • This suggests that very few students who are unsure about attending a program eventually make it to one and is behind Give a Summer’s recommendation to focus efforts on these students.
  11. 11. Findings: types of programs students attend and want to attend 11 • Overall, students are well matched with the programs they attend: The types of programs that students went to last year and that students are interested in for this summer are similar. • The major exception is ‘Overnight camps’ -> Action: highlight more overnight programs to students • Notably, for students who are unsure about attending a program this summer, they are interested in very similar programs to the types of programs that students have previously attended • Action: recommending those programs can help unsure students find programs that interest them. • Action: Hook students not interested in attending programs with sports programs. This was the only type of program these students were interested in. • Few students report interest in educational programs, though the label may understate student interest in programs that have academic content-> Action: use different labels for ‘educational’ programs What did students do over the summer and what do they want to do? (students grouped by interest in attending a program this summer)
  12. 12. Findings: types of programs students attend and want to attend: detail on 6th graders 12 • The gap between past participation and upcoming interest is large for 6th graders for overnight camps. This gap may explain lower 6th grade satisfaction with programs. • Action: highlight overnight camps, especially for 6th graders 6th grade: what did students do last summer and what do previous attendees want to do this coming summer?
  13. 13. Findings: desired types of programs by grade 13 • 6th and 7th graders have roughly similar interests in programs • 6th graders have much less of an interest in day camps, which is significant as 67% of programs that students attended last year were day camps, which may explain lower 6th grade satisfaction. • Action: adjust recommendations for 6th graders to highlight performing arts, overnight camps, and sports. What do students want to do over the summer, by grade
  14. 14. Findings: desired types of programs: detail for students for whom program barriers are a big deal 14 • Students reporting program costs are a big deal in their planning are most interested in sports and performing arts programs, suggesting that program expense mostly is a problem at these programs • Action: when looking for or recommending low cost programs, focus first on sports and performing arts programs. Note, this was mainly a concern for 6th graders. • Otherwise, there is not that much of a difference between what all students are interested in and what students who report large barriers related to program options are interested in, suggesting that the types of programs you recommend do not need to be tailored to students who report program-related barriers (though you still need to highlight the particular programs that avoid their barriers by being low cost or offering free transportation, etc.). 6th grade student interests vs. interests of 6th grade students who rated programs barriers a big deal
  15. 15. Findings: description of different barriers 15 • Students were asked to rate how important various potential barriers were to participating in summer programs. • Below, the text of those barriers is presented and barriers are grouped into categories. • Students rated barriers as a “Big deal”, “Small deal”, or “Does not apply” • Those descriptions were converted to scores: “Big deal” is a 2, “Small deal” is 1, “Does not apply” is 0
  16. 16. Findings: barriers to summer participation 16 • Lack of interest in program options, program cost, and schedule conflicts with family vacations were the largest barriers. • Full programs and lack of transportation to programs were also sizable barriers. • Barriers are consistently higher for 6th graders (see appendix). • Ratings were similar to the average of the three schools, with “programs don’t interest me” and “too expensive” more of a big deal at school A.
  17. 17. Findings: barriers to summer participation based on previous attendance 17 • Students who did not attend a program last summer rated the expense of programs and difficulty getting to programs as higher barriers than students who attended a program. • That finding suggests that those factors may be crucial swing factors that affect students’ eventual participation in programs. See dark green. • This is especially true for 6th graders (see next slide).
  18. 18. Findings: barriers by previous attendance and grade 18 • Program expense and transportation are major swing barriers for 6th graders between those who do and do not attend. • Action: Highlight programs to 6th graders that avoid those barriers. • Surprisingly, “programs don’t interest me” didn’t have a large relative impact given the lower satisfaction 6th grade students had with their programs last year. Same chart as previous slide, now just for 6th graders
  19. 19. Findings: barriers to summer participation based on upcoming interest 19 • Students interested and not sure about attending a program this summer rated the impact of barriers very similarly, suggesting that parental and school support is a key factor in helping students who are not sure of their plans end up attending a program. • Students not interested in attending a program naturally cite lack of interest in programs as a big deal and don’t report barriers – such as programs are full or that it is tough to sign up – that are more likely to be faced by students interested in programs. • The more meaningful result is that conflicts with family vacations rate substantially higher for students not interested in attending a program, suggesting this could be a key factor in their decision not to look for summer program opportunities.
  20. 20. Findings: barriers to summer participation for interested students who didn’t attend last summer 20 • There are 18 students who want to attend a program but who didn’t last year. • When compared to all students interested in attending a program, the students who didn’t attend one last year rate program expense and difficulty getting to programs as bigger deals than their peers. • Action: To help students interested in programs but who didn’t attend last year, try to help them find low cost programs that are convenient. Personalized support for these students may have an impact given students’ interest in attending a program but non-attendance last summer. 0.00 0.50 1.00 1.50 Don't want to go Programs don't interest me Programs are full Too expensive Conflict with family vaca on Tough to get to Needed at home Tough to sign up Signed up but didn't go Went but didn't like it Barriers to summer par cipa on (average score) All students Interested Interested but didn't go last year
  21. 21. Areas for action: general 21 Concentrate on increasing 6th grade participation. 6th graders attend programs nearly half as often as 7th graders, even though they have similar interests in attending a program next year. Program expense and lack of transportation look like the crucial swing factors for 6th grades. • Action: Highlight programs to these students that are low cost or with convenient transportation • Action: Do additional investigation to best prioritize helping 5th graders or these particular 6th grade students. Highlight programs that are low cost or have flexible schedules to accommodate family vacation plans: In addition to lack of interest in program options, these were the biggest barriers to participation, both for students who want to attend a program this summer and for students who are not sure. • Action: Find and highlight programs that have flexible schedules, such as these run by BCYF • Action: Find and highlight programs that are low cost Lack of interest in program options matters but can be solved. This was the largest overall barrier and a differentiator between students who did and did not attend a program last year. Yet students who reported a lack of programs that interest them have nearly the same program interests as students who went to programs last year or who want to go to a program this summer. • Action: recommend to students unexcited by their options some of the great programs students enjoyed last summer. • Action: Highlight overnight camps to students given strong interest but low participation in these types of programs • Action: For students not interested in attending a program, hook them with sports programs, the one type of program they are strongly interested in. • Action: tweak suggestions for 6th graders to highlight performing arts, overnight camps, and sports.
  22. 22. Areas for action: specific 22 Two groups of students seem like promising ones to focus personalized support on: • 1) Want to attend but didn’t last year: 18 students across school A fall into this category which seems a promising area to focus individual attention on. No barriers stand out for these students compared to their peers. • 2) Not sure of attending but only have one or two big deal obstacles: this applies to 22 students and is another promising group of students to support with individualized help, especially to help these students find low cost and convenient programs which are large barriers for them. See the accompanying Excel for more information on these students. Use student-level data on barriers to effectively connect students (and families) with programs that match their needs. The attached Excel file has student-level data on attendance and summer program barriers – as well as other information, such as whether students fall into the two categories listed above – to help effectively and efficiently connect students with summer programs that match their needs. • Action: Use data to best match students with programs visiting school. • Action: Share “top students to focus on” with each homeroom teacher. Note: Excel file not included with this public report
  23. 23. Areas for investigation 23 Is lower 6th grade participation last summer a reflection of support and opportunities available to 5th graders or particular dynamics among these current 6th grade students? • Impact: best direct assistance, either to a particular grade or for certain students What are parent perspectives on barriers to summer program participation? • For example, students don’t rate difficulty signing up for programs as that big a deal, though teachers often describe this as a big challenge. What do parents think? • Impact: improve efforts to expand summer access by incorporating influential parent perspective When and for how long do families take vacations? • Depending on when and for how long families take vacations, there are different ways to best support summer opportunities for students: highlighting programs in July for families that take August vacations or recommending week by week programs for families that travel in July. • Impact: better target communication and suggestions to students’ and families’ needs. How do students’ plans for summer participation compare to their actual summer participation? • Knowing how well students’ plans for the summer match their outcomes would inform how much do you want to concentrate on students who are not sure of their plans vs. working more equally with all students. • Impact: more effectively help students access summer opportunities
  24. 24. Appendix 24 • Methodology and response rates • Length of program attendance • Distribution of barrier ratings • Barrier ratings by grade • Findings from student comments Slide # 25 26 27 28 29
  25. 25. Appendix: methodology 25 • Survey (example is linked here) is given to all of the middle school students across the three schools, with student ID, grade, and classroom prepopulated. • The survey received a very high response rate that was consistent across grades and schools. • Below are the responses rates at this school:
  26. 26. Appendix: length of program attendance 26 • When students go to programs, they generally attend for at least a month. • No differences across grades, and similar to the results for the three schools as a whole.
  27. 27. Appendix: distribution of barrier ratings 27 • Distribution of barriers does not reveal any interesting, bi-modal distributions (where barriers are either a big deal or do not apply to lots of students so that their average score may understate the barriers’ impact on students’ summer plans).
  28. 28. Appendix: barriers by grade 28 • The impact of every major barrier is greatest on 6th graders by a small but meaningful margin.
  29. 29. Appendix: breakdown of additional student comments 29 • Student comments reveal diversity of student concerns and preferences • Family vacation conflicts was the most frequent comment by far

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