It's July! The summer is in session; what will you have done by the end of this summer? Will you be a better student going back in the Fall? Chances are, probably not. Studies have shown that more likely than not, primary school students will return less academically prepared in the Fall than when they left for break at the end of Spring.
"Summer Learning Loss" is a cultural phenomena referring to the tendency for students to return to school after summer vacation at a lower academic level than from when they began that same summer - a result of the "use it or lose it" function of the brain, stemming from a lack of discipline and structure over the summer months dedicated to maintaining the foundational concepts built over the school year. It's not only unfortunate that the Summer Setback reverses the progress in educational tracks for several months each year, but its crucial for healthy mental development that students maintain their cognitive routines and progressively practice problem-solving throughout the summer vacation. Only in recent decades has research begun to reveal the enormous positive impact of supplementary education from early childhood to adulthood on future student success.
To take a two to three month pause on reading, writing, language, math and communication concept building every single year is to accumulate a competitive disadvantage relative to the students who haven't paused, adding up each year that summer goes by with no progress. While traditionally, the more privileged students spend their summers sharpening their skills and pursuing a variety of academic, athletic and recreational activities, those who lack the same privileges often spend those 3 months completely separated from school or academic settings. The results of summer learning loss vs. summer learning opportunities are significant and influential with regards to student success, considering the accumulation of roughly thirteen full summers' worth of primary school years spent on any range of academic to non-academic activities.
9 in 10 teachers spend at least three weeks re-teaching lessons at the start of the school year.
High-quality summer programs improve MATH AND READING SKILLS, and also build critical social and emotional skills of students. These are skills that will help them not only in school but also in their careers and life.
Research shows that HIGH-QUALITY SUMMER PROGRAMS can make a difference in stemming learning loss and closing the country's educational and opportunity gaps.
Source: Summer by the Numbers
Furthermore, a comprehensive analysis of summer learning by the RAND Corporation found the average student summer learning loss for students to be roughly one month behind the entire grade's standard (Making Summer Count, 2011). The study found that learning losses were cumulative and that summer learning programs had directly better outcomes than peers who did not attend them. Another study from 2015 by the NWEA has found that in the summer following third grade, students lost nearly 20% of their reading and 27% of their math gains; the study also reported that before entering seventh grade, students lost on average 36% of their reading and 50% of their math concepts over the summer. Both findings are disturbing and disheartening, to say the least - but the better we know what's going on, the better chance we can prevent this same issue for future students. The costs of learning loss can be minimized and even replaced by the benefits from programs designed to maintain student learning over summer vacation.
Still, the implications of the research aren't entirely comforting; the ASCD reports that the reteaching costs in the fall can cost more than $1500 per student every year. The cost is even more dramatic considering 2-3 months multiplied by thirteen consecutive years where students with a summer program gain a competitive boost each summer relative to their peers who aren't a part of any summer enrichment plan. While at the institutional level, the solution to summer learning loss aren't so clear, at the individual level. its clear that students will be better prepared for their futures academically and socially with a stimulating schedule of summer enrichment activities. While the prevalence of summer programs generally varies based on what one's local community has to offer, since technology and online boot camps have made their educational services available to any qualifying student - given adequate time and internet access, the playing field has been more equal than ever before.
Furthermore, private and public partnerships leveraging technology and innovation have enabled academic enrichment programs and opportunities to empower students globally through the internet; for example, one can join courses from MITx or HarvardX and obtain certifications from the country's finest institutions of higher learning, or find free lessons from Coursera, Khan Academy. or the endless number of Youtube content-creators releasing their educational videos & lectures for the world to see.
Nonetheless, the steps we can take to mitigate the damage from summer learning loss have been summed as follows: Parents play the most significant role & carry the heaviest responsibility for their child's summer learning outcomes. For younger students in particular, not only have their schedules aligned to what the parents have decided, but they are more likely to weigh the parent's perceptions and competencies more significantly than their teacher's. Parents that have higher expectations and thus expose more opportunities for their child's educational progress have a positive correlation with their children reaching higher levels of academic achievement than their peers with less engaged parents (London Review of Education). Parents who communicate well with their children, within their community, and with confidence and honesty regarding education have been shown to prepare their children best.
7EDU Impact Academy works with students and their parents directly to address and solve any learning loss issues, educational obstacles and achievement hurdles in every individual's unique path. We understand that every student has a different style of learning and no one size fits all children when it comes to education - thus, our educators have adopted modern adaptive teaching principles to tailor educational outcomes to meet individual needs on a case-by-case basis. Our dedication to our students extends beyond their test score goals or college applications; we wish to support and empower them as much we possibly can during their time with us, and guarantee only the best of effort to unearth student potential at every opportunity.
Over the past application season, 7EDU's College and Career Counseling Guidance has assisted our students in receiving tremendous offer letters from the nation's top univerisities, including Princeton & Harvard. In addition to the extraordinary efforts by each student in their own right, we also commend the parents who understand that academic obstacles like Summer Learning Loss must be overcome for their students to reach their highest potential.
Learn how you can get started with 7EDU's Summer Programs at https://7edu.online/about-us or give us a call & schedule your free consultation today!
On Saturday, July 11th, we'll be hosting a Live Open Class + Q&A on what COVID-19 means for College Admissions 2020 at 6:00pm PDT. Register via Google Form to receive your Zoom link! We'll be discussing a range of topics like Policy requirement changes, test score relevancy, community and family contributions, writing about the pandemic, and more!
Register for your Zoom Invite: http://tiny.cc/7EDU711Webs2