An Effective Urban Summer School: Students’ Perspectives on Their Success
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This study describes and analyzes the experiences of four secondary students during an urban summer school program. In the previous summer, over 90% of program participants passed the state course-end exam, compared to the city Department of Education’s summer school pass rate of less than 36%. The study examines the ways in which different components of the program affected the students’ learning and attitudes. It contrasts the students’ descriptions of their past unsuccessful experiences with how they perceive the summer program. Student claims are contextualized by teacher comments and direct observations. Through analysis of multiple data sets, three themes emerge suggesting that what made the program effective was the inclusion of what students referred to as ‘fun’ learning activities, the focus on student understanding, and mutual respect among the participants and teachers. The critical finding of this study is that students who have failed and been failed in their urban schools can thrive when offered meaningful learning experiences by instructors who believe in their potential to succeed.
KeywordsAcademic achievement Secondary education Student-centered Student perceptions Summer school
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