Research-Backed Initiative

We don’t just say that Dallas City of Learning can have a positive impact on youth – we prove it.

Big Thought and Dallas ISD, along with four other urban public-private partnerships, participated in a multi-year research study funded by the Wallace Foundation to develop and implement summer learning programs to help close the opportunity gap. This initiative, referred to as the National Summer Learning Project (NSLP), lead to a series of comprehensive reports and strategy tools that are helping communities throughout the country increase the access, dosage and quality of their summer learning opportunities.

Each year, Big Thought also works with the Southern Methodist University Center on Research and Evaluation to evaluate Dallas City of Learning for access, dosage and quality indicators that impact academic achievement and attendance.

Check out some of the research articles and whitepapers that cover or were influenced by Dallas City of Learning.

Summer 2020 Evaluation Report

published November 2020 by SMU Center on Research and Evaluation

Initial data report which outlines outputs and survey information from Summer 2020

Summers 2017-19 Equity Focus

published February 2021 by SMU Center on Research and Evaluation

This report focuses on outcomes for Dallas ISD students that participate in DCoL-affiliated programs and explore how outcomes for students across three summers are associated with varying amounts of participation or not participation in summer programs. 

Summer 2020 Report: COVID-19 Supplement

published December 2020 by SMU Center on Research and Evaluation

This supplemental report describes the survey results for the items specifically addressing program and participants perspectives on the COVID-19 pandemic, including perceived impacts on themselves and the programs.

Student Outcomes Summers 2017-2019

published January 2020 by SMU Center on Research and Evaluation

This report examines student outcome data over the course of three consecutive summers, including Summers 2019, 2018 and 2017.

Every Summer Counts: A Longitudinal Analysis of Outcomes from the National Summer Learning Project

published December 2020 by The Wallace Foundation and RAND Corporation

The largest and longest study of its kind on summer learning programs reveals short- and long-term benefits among students who consistently attended voluntary, five- to six-week summer learning programs. The findings suggest that these programs can be an important component of how school districts support learning and skill development among children in low-income communities.

Summer - A Time for Learning: Five Lessons from School Districts & Their Partners about Running Successful Programs

published 2019 by The Wallace Foundation

The report highlights five key lessons for those interested in introducing or enhancing summer learning programs managed by districts and their community partners.

Summer Learning Toolkit: Evidence-Based Tools & Guidance for Delivering Effective Programs

published 2019 by The Wallace Foundation

With more than 50, evidence-based tools and resources—drawn from the work of five urban school districts and their partners, and aligned with research from RAND—the Summer Learning Toolkit helps educators deliver programs that make a real difference.

Getting to Work on Summer Learning: Recommended Practices for Success, 2nd edition

published December 2018 by The Wallace Foundation and RAND Corporation

This report presents the best available guidance on how to develop high-quality summer programs based on extensive data collected from summer 2011 through summer 2014. Researchers from the RAND Corporation collected more than 1,200 surveys of summer instructors and 10,000 surveys of elementary grade students, conducted 900 interviews, and observed more than 2,000 hours of classroom and enrichment activities. 

Summer 2018 Evaluation Report

published 2018 by SMU Center on Research and Evaluation

Initial data report which outlines outputs and survey information from Summer 2018.

Partners Make it Possible   |   Los socios lo hacen posible

Partner organizations offer in person programs and at home learning opportunities through Dallas City of Learning. Check out some of our outstanding partner organizations!

Las organizaciones asociadas ofrecen programas en persona y oportunidades de aprendizaje en el hogar a través de Dallas City of Learning. ¡Vea algunas de nuestras organizaciones socias destacadas!

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