Evaluation of the Annual Summer Literacy Institute

About the Program

The School District of Philadelphia held three five-day Summer Literacy Institutes between 2015 and 2017. Teachers attended these Summer Institutes as 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 the Institute over three years.

About the Evaluation

ORE’s evaluation focused on the first three years of implementation (2015-2017) and used three primary data sources to examine each Institutes’s effectiveness:

  • Early Literacy Knowledge Assessments administered to all teachers at the beginning and end of each five-day Institute. Designed in collaboration with the Office of Early Childhood Education, the assessments measure knowledge of each component of the literacy block and related best practices;
  • Daily satisfaction surveys completed by participating teachers about the session content; and
  • Professional development session observations.

Key Findings

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 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.

For More Information

Contact Kristyn Stewart, Senior Research Associate: kstewart@philasd.org.

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