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WGBH Boston: Report Shows Gains in Adolescent Literacy

Tuesday, May 19, 2015  
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A new report released by WGBH Boston found significant increases in educational outcomes in literacy, based on programs implemented with middle school students across the country.

The National Summer Learning Association (NSLA) is one of six partners in Telling Our Stories, which profiles each organization's research-driven solution to bridging gaps in adolescent literacy and improving education outcomes for disadvantaged students.

Through its Smarter Summers initiative, NSLA was one of the key partners in this work that was funded by a $33 million adolescent literacy grant from the Walmart Foundation. The Walmart Foundation selected organizations with successful track records in directly improving literacy outcomes for high-needs students, and each organization's ability to build a program that would be scalable and sustainable over time.

Each organization’s adolescent literacy program showed significant measurable increases in academic outcomes for participating students:

  • Four months of gains in math and two months of gains in literacy skills for BELL summer scholars in six weeks.
  • English Language arts proficiency in grades served by Citizen Schools extended learning time increased by an average of 4.2 points, and math proficiency increased by 6.2 points each year.
  • A full letter grade improvement in English language arts for 39% of sixth through ninth graders working with City Year in the 2012-2013 school year.
  • Expansion of Innovations in Civic Participation programs to over 600 at-risk students in seven communities.
  • An average gain in math of 4.1 months by NSLA Summer Advantage USA scholars in Chicago and Indianapolis, and an advancement rate of 94% to top college preparatory schools by scholars in Washington D.C.’s Higher Achievement Program.
  • An 8% increase in vocabulary for 300 students after completing just five WGBH-developed literacy lessons that were funded with the grant.

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