Horizons National recently engaged Concentric Research & Evaluation (CRE) to determine whether students who participate in the Horizons program for at least four summers achieve better academic outcomes than similar students who do not participate.
CRE's study, funded by The New York Life Foundation and the Scripps Family Fund for Education and the Arts, found that compared to peers, long-term Horizons students had:
- Higher attendance rates and lower rates of chronic absenteeism
- Higher scores on standardized assessments of elementary math and science
- Higher GPAs in 9th grade, a critical transition year
- More course credit earned in 9th and 10th grade
- Fewer incidents of repeating a grade
- Fewer disciplinary referrals
These promising results are consistent with effects found with other high-quality, intensive, multi-year interventions and begin to fill an important gap in the research looking at the long-term impacts of summer learning programs.
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The study looked at 15 Horizons program sites in seven states and, because it focused on long-term participants in the program, included only sites in operation for at least four years. Each Horizons student in the study was paired with a student who did not participate in Horizons but attended the same school or a school with similar demographics and achievement scores. Researchers used a variety of characteristics to match students including gender, race, and ethnicity.
The study was reviewed by Horizons National's Research Advisory Board comprised of leaders from across the country with specialties in areas including child development, urban poverty, K-12 education, rigorous evaluation methodologies, and the use of data to drive improvements in practice and policy.
"Horizons is a unique educational and enrichment program for children in that it enrolls children prior to Kindergarten and continues to serve them year-after-year, at least through 8th grade. Amazingly, it has an 88 percent year-over-year retention rate, which is an indication of how much children and their parents value it. It is an ideal candidate for a rigorous study to determine the benefits of consistent access to enrichments like Horizons provides."