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This Year's "Summer Learning Loss"

Summer learning loss, also referred to as “summer slide,” is a widely accepted phenomenon that refers to the loss of academic ground that students experience during the summer. Historically, this loss especially affects disadvantaged student groups, with students starting the academic year with achievement levels lower than they were at the beginning of summer break.

Research shows that on average, lower-income students’ achievement scores decline over summer break by one month’s worth of school-year learning, with declines being sharper for math than reading. One cause of this negative impact of summer break on lower-income students has been referred to as the “resource faucet theory”. According to the theory, the resource faucet is on for all students during the school year, allowing them to make academic gains. Over the summer, however, the flow of resources slows, or stops altogether, for students from disadvantaged backgrounds.

Given that students have been out of school buildings and their normal schooling routines since March, the expected learning loss could be much higher than years past, especially for disadvantaged youth. It’s crucial that students are continuing to be exposed to rich texts and thinking critically about them, while also staying on top of their mathematical critical thinking skills by solving Common Core aligned problems and showing their work.

While it’s easy and convenient to want to release students from their at-home learning responsibilities, supporting students in continuing their learning over the summer is the only to slow down the steep summer slide. Reach out to school administrators for specific resources for your student to support their continued learning this summer!

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