Evaluation of the Annual Summer Literacy Institute

About the Program

The School District of Philadelphia held three five-day Summer Literacy Institutes between summer 2015 and summer 2017. Teachers attended these Summer Institutes as a part of the Early Literacy initiative, which also provided early literacy coaching to K-3 teachers. The purpose of the Summer Institutes was to prepare teachers to implement the District’s Literacy Framework, enhance their knowledge of best practices in early literacy, and improve the teaching practices of participants through high-quality professional development. Approximately 1,935 teachers and school staff from 148 K-3 elementary schools attended Institute over three years (2015-2017).

About the Evaluation

The evaluation of the Summer Literacy Institutes focused on the first three years of implementation, from 2015 to 2017, and used three primary sources of data to examine the effectiveness of each Summer Literacy Institute:

  • Early Literacy Knowledge Assessment administered to all teachers at the beginning and end of the 5-day Summer Institute. Designed in collaboration with the Office of Early Childhood Education, the assessment measures participant knowledge about each component of the literacy block and related best practices.
  • Daily satisfaction surveys completed by participating teachers about the session content
  • Session observations during the 5 days of professional development

Key Findings

A total of 683 teachers completed both pre- and post-Institute Early Literacy Knowledge assessments. Overall, assessment results suggest that the Summer Literacy Institute was effective in increasing participants’ knowledge of fundamental early literacy concepts and instructional practices. More specifically:

  • Each year, teachers who completed both the pre- and post-Institute Early Literacy Knowledge assessment (n=683) had statistically significantly higher scores on the post-Institute assessment than the pre-Institute assessment, suggesting improvements in teacher knowledge due to Institute attendance.
  • New, Early Career, Mid-Career, and Veteran teachers’ post-Institute Early Literacy Knowledge assessment scores were all statistically significantly higher than their pre-Institute scores, suggesting that teachers at all levels of expertise experienced improvements in knowledge.
  • On satisfaction surveys, participants responded positively about Institute facilitation, use of time, and content of the sessions.

For More Information

Early Literacy Summer Institute Professional Development Study Summary