Summer slump learning loss is real
Taking a break from school can be a good thing for students, especially if the prior school year was a tough one. However, a three-month break from academic activity has a proven negative effect. By some measurements, children lose an average of 1 month and up to 2 months of learning in the time off during the summer.
Researchers from the University of Missouri first began measuring math computation and spelling skills in a 1996 study where they wanted to determine the effect of having two to three months off from learning in the summer. They amalgamated the results of 39 different studies. The results were compelling. “The meta-analysis indicated that the summer loss equaled about one month on a grade-level equivalent scale, or one tenth of a standard deviation relative to spring test scores. The effect of summer break was more detrimental for math than for reading and most detrimental for math computation and spelling.”
More recently, and following pandemic learning loss, studies have found that students in grades 1-8 lose 17% to 34% of the prior year’s learning over summer break. And significantly, the study showed that kids who fall behind one summer, tend to stay behind and even widen the gap as time goes on.
“Math, reading and history scores from the past three years show that students learned far less during the pandemic than was typical in previous years. By the spring of 2022, according to our calculations, the average student was half a year behind in math and a third of a year behind in reading,” according to Dr. Tom Kane, professor education and economics at Harvard, and Dr. Sean Reardon, professor of education and sociology at Stanford. When you add summer learning loss to the picture, it becomes more alarming.
Current statistics about summer slide:
- Kids in grades 3-5 lose about 20% of their school year gains in reading and 27% of their gains in math. (Source: Scholastic)
- Students lose about a month’s worth of learning on average over the summer. (Source: Sage Journals)
- In the summer between fifth and sixth grade, 84% of students experience summer slide in math. (Source: Kappan)
- The more kids learn during the school year, the more they’re likely to lose over the summer. (Source: Kappan)
- It can take 2 months in the fall for students to recover from summer learning loss
Things you can do to help mitigate summer learning loss:
- Set aside 30 minutes per day for some type of academic activity
- Participate in a summer reading program
- Make regular visits to the library
- Play games that reinforce reading and math skills
- Create learning experiences by visiting museums, zoos, and other nature experiences
- Keep plenty of art supplies on hand and encourage creativity
- Limit screen time
Consider summer tutoring
Your child might benefit from tutoring over the summer, even if it’s just a couple of 30-minute sessions per week. This is particularly true in subjects that your child may have struggled with during the previous school year. Teachers say that it takes a month or more in the fall, just trying to get students back to the skill levels they had before summer break. Spending some time one-on-one with a certified, classroom-experienced teacher over the summer, could be a total game-changer for your child. TutorUp can help.
The 2022 Summer School Picture
Millions of students enroll in summer school each year for a variety of reasons. Some students retake courses needed for graduation, some take courses for academic acceleration and enrichment, and some take career prep or college prep courses. In addition to K-12 programs, high school and middle school students can take advantage of summer programs offered by more than 97% of top universities.
In 2019, there were about 3.3 million students enrolled in summer school in the U.S., and in 2020, the latest year figures were available, that number increased to 3.4 million. According to a report on summer school by ThinkImpact, continued attendance in summer school could result in up to 25% improvement in mathematics, and up to 23% improvement in language capabilities. And 2022 should see growth as well “As there is an increased focus and significance placed on education, summer school has enjoyed a resurgence.”
The Effect of Summer School
As ThinkImpact reports, “Research has shown that students at every stage can benefit from summer school” and enrolling students in a grade level lower than the grade they just completed seems to have a marked positive impact.
The positive impact of summer school persists, even after the following school year. Students are generally showing an advantage of one grade level in post-tests over their peers, and even “one year later, there was a 13% benefit for students” in the subject they took in summer school.
Summer school during the pandemic, including online summer school, helped prevent loss of 50% of math gains and 30% of reading gains.
Blending Vacation with Learning
For most students, summer means fun and freedom and no more studying or homework. Parents need to keep that in mind, and weigh the benefits of summer learning with the benefits of having time off. Since most summer school programs are short duration, and typically don’t require daily attendance or long hours, it’s relatively easy to combine summer fun with summer learning.
The “summer slide” is a known phenomenon that impacts students primarily in math and reading. Typically, students lose an average of two months of reading skills and 2.6 months of math skills over the summer. Once they return to school in the fall, it can take weeks if not months to relearn and get caught back up to where they were at the beginning of summer.
This is one reason many parents choose to incorporate some kind of summer learning for their kids.
Summer Tutoring Online
If you’re planning to enroll your student in a summer learning program, you may find that a little one-on-one personalized tutoring support will help boost that learning. Or if your student just needs a couple of hours a week of tutoring without the need to enroll in a formal summer program, TutorUp has solutions for your needs. All of our tutors are certified, classroom-experienced teachers and as such, they have more availability over the summer than during the school year. We can match your student with the perfect tutor to help them sail through a summer school program, or just help them avoid the annual summer slump. Click here to let us know what you’re looking for.
Statistics show that 79% of schools are offering online summer school classes in the wake of the pandemic. The percentage of students who enroll in summer school has been steadily increasing every year since they started tracking it in 1985, and the percentage of high school students enrolled is now approaching 50%.
Something that you may not be aware of is that more than 97% of top universities offer summer programs for high school students, and some even offer programs for middle school children.
In addition, online summer school during the pandemic can help to prevent loss of 50% of math gains and prevent 30% of loss in reading gains.
Further, students in all grades can benefit from summer school, not just high schoolers. Kindergarteners and first graders who attended summer school outperformed their peers. And the benefits from attending summer school persist. One year later, there is still a 13% benefit for students in the subject they studied in summer school.
What if it’s too late to enroll in summer school?
Some schools have already launched their summer school programs, and if you didn’t get signed up, you may have missed the window of opportunity. And there’s also a good chance that the summer programs near you were filled up, and your child may be on a waiting list and has missed out.
If either of these scenarios apply to your student, you can still provide a learning experience that will have a positive impact on your student’s academic performance by signing up for some online tutoring this summer. Learning loss from COVID is evident across the country. Summer learning loss just compounds the problem. So to make sure your student gets an academic boost instead of an academic loss, dedicating a bit of summer vacation time to tutoring is a great idea.
Tutoring is flexible
Summer school has a set schedule, even when it’s presented in an online format. Tutoring, on the other hand, is completely flexible to fit your family’s schedule. Are you going to be out of town for a while? Do you have other schedule conflicts that make summer school impossible? Or do you just want your student to spend a couple of hours each week on educational activities so they’re not giving up their whole vacation on “school stuff”? Schedule tutoring when it’s convenient for your family.
Does your student need some one-on-one help with summer school?
Summer tutoring is the perfect support for the student who is enrolled in summer school and may be having a bit of difficulty keeping up with the accelerated pace. In order to cover material that normally gets covered in a full semester, summer school courses, especially at the high school level, can be a real challenge. One-on-one tutoring, even just an hour or two per week, can help your student keep up with summer school demands.
TutorUp offers 30-minute tutoring sessions
You can purchase tutoring sessions this summer that are 30 minutes long, or combine sessions to get an hour of tutoring, or 90 minutes… whatever works. All of our tutors are certified, experienced, background-checked classroom teachers who know how to connect with students. Just type in your contact info below so we can chat with you about your child’s specific needs, or give us a call to find out how you can get your student learning on your schedule and your budget this summer.
Schools all across the U.S. will be dismissing for the summer break in the next few weeks, and many parents are looking for ways to keep their kids busy over the break. In addition to the normal yearly learning loss that students suffer over a long summer break, students have also suffered significant learning loss due to Covid.
We’ve put together a list of 10 free resources for parents who want some help exercising their kids’ brains over summer vacation. These are also great resources that teachers and tutors can use to create lesson plans and enrichment material.
And if your child would benefit from some one-on-one time with a certified, experienced classroom teacher this summer, TutorUp offers affordable summer tutoring.
Free Summer Learning Activities
Wide Open School, powered by Common Sense, has resources for preschool through grade 12:
A collection of fun education resources from Edutopia:
Reading Rockets has ideas for teachers to share with families to help them get ready for summer:
Education World has put together a list of 25 activities to keep kids’ brains active over the summer:
Creative summer learning ideas for students PreK – 8th grade from Scholastic:
The Cade Museum has easy STEAM activities for preschool through ages 10+:
iCivics has free civics resources for educators and for families:
KERA has an annual Summer Learning Challenge parents can enroll their kids in:
Free printable worksheet bundles for summer learning from Edmentum:
AllConnect has some great summer resources for all students, regardless of internet access: