Can many students enroll in college at 14? The answer might surprise you. 

In 2022, it is estimated that students lose up to 40% of what they have learned each year during the summer.  This is called the Summer Learning Loss or Summer Slippage.  It is worse after COVID, and it is worse among poorer communities. Considering students have trouble learning new materials when they have gaps in knowledge, it is easy to see how this compounds each year, wrecking the future of so many students.

When you improve learning tools, clarity of learning focus, and motivation, most students can not only halt learning loss but actually make gains in the summer.  Summer is 3 months or about 25% of the year. If a student improves math and language skills over the summer 2 hours a day, they can leap ahead. If students go from a 35% loss to a 25% gain each summer, they are transforming their lives.

Motivation is key.  Your support means we can PAY disadvantaged students to learn, but they have to earn it.

The nonprofit Outstanda is providing a program that is free and open to everyone. It focuses on mastery, not grading.  It is weekly tools and materials that students may use at home, in the classroom, or in a hybrid environment. Students work at their own pace, and when a verified student demonstrates mastery of the lesson, they get paid.

While students from wealthy families may not be motivated by $30 a week, students from less fortunate families will appreciate an extra $120 a month just for mastering Math and English.

While the program is open to all, the payment portion is only open to as many students as we can pay.  It is up to our donors to decide how many schools we can work with this year. It takes about $500 to sponsor one student in this program for one summer. The majority goes to the student and the teacher/school that is supporting the student.

Summer Learning Loss and Gain

How Students Can Complete a Bachelor’s Degree at Age 18

Summer learning loss is widely studied. Before COVID, students were losing on average over 30% of the academic year learning, with minority students losing significantly more. Several years of educational disruption have only exacerbated the learning and equivalent loss, leading to a slow educational catastrophe that will result in fewer graduations, less higher education, and fewer quality job opportunities in the future. Since this issue disproportionately affects minorities, it will result in a significant increase in education and pay gaps.

While a lot of programs exist to reduce this loss, the reduction is not enough. It is possible to develop a program that continues normal gains in the summer for many students, while still giving them a quality summer vacation and time to relax. This program strategically expects average students to be very advanced by high school age, and in many cases, they can opt to take college courses early or even go full-time to college before the age of 18.

Check out the data. It is kept simple, but the premise is that you have 13 academic years to complete through high school.  Summer is 25% of the year.  If you continue to learn math and language in the summer, a student can gain over 4 years over the course of their studies. Gaining in the summer will result in a student academically being ready to attend college classes as early as middle school if they are consistent and desire this pathway.

Is this realistic?  Watch this short video of someone who has done this. (17-year-old among youngest college students set to graduate from Kent State University) 

Notice the quote “She would do half days in the summer…” 

Is It Worse Than Chart Shows?

This chart is simplistic. In reality, the data changes should be compounded annually, because the loss in one academic year translates into a compounded loss during the next academic school year because students cannot catch up or learn new material.  When we ran the numbers using this formula, it actually turned into students in the bottom tier never getting to 3rd grade, and students in the top tier being far too high. A model that would be accurate would need to factor in things like intervention, tutoring, absenteeism, school districts, etc. For the sake of this discussion, the 25% gain is a realistic example for a motivated student. The loss examples will vary greatly based on a wide variety of factors and support and is more likely to be lower than what is represented, not higher.

Program for Achieving Summer Gains Among Lower Performing Communities

Outstanda is an Ohio non-profit that is designing curriculum and hybrid strategies to help students move forward in their academics and achieve significant academic gains.

Summer Education as a Paid Summer Job

Outstanda is designed differently.  To begin with, students can work at their own pace. There is no grading. Students simply prove mastery of materials (pass/fail) and may try multiple times. When they pass a course, they are paid. Each Friday, students who have mastered materials get paid a fixed amount for passage.

This program is free and the funding comes from donations.  The number of schools and students depends on donations.

Outstanda will continue to do research on what amounts are best for motivation.  Higher-level materials will be paid higher amounts, encouraging students to advance academically in order to get paid more.

This program can be done in any hybrid format and is designed to complement a school’s other programming, not replace it.  10 Weeks of Materials in formats including:

  • 100% from home with proctored testing remotely. 
  • In class 1 or more days a week, with access from home as well.
  • Full weeks in class, along with other Summer activities the school has developed.

Because teachers are trained on mastery assessment, and it is done within an online system, student identities are verified and students cannot cheat. Randomization of questions and answers means the easiest way to pass is to memorize and fully internalize the materials.

How can you help? Donate Here

Outstanda programs are 100% free and open to everyone. Paying students is limited. We pay as many students as possible when they are approved, verified, and complete mastery assessments.