When summer arrives, kids and teachers alike are relieved for the three-month break after months of hard work. That time off is well-deserved, but there are some downsides to this long pause from learning. Unfortunately, summer learning loss is a very real issue.
If you ask any teacher, they’ll tell you that the first few weeks of returning to school are all about reviewing concepts from the previous year rather than learning new material.
The concept of summer learning loss did not just arise from a heightened usage of technology in recent years, as some might assume. It has actually been around for a while.
A major study released in 1996 looked at data gathered from student test scores and found that kids lost about a month of learning over the summer. The loss increased in children at higher grade levels.
Recently, it was discovered that students in grades one through eight lose 17 to 34 percent of the knowledge they learned from the previous year over summer break.
Many experts continue to debate over why summer learning loss occurs and how much it impacts students. Some researchers argue that children of a lower socioeconomic status and certain racial groups bear the brunt of learning loss.
Others, such as Paul T. von Hippel, made waves after publishing an article in which he debunked many studies that claimed the learning gap widened as children grew older.
He believed that learning gaps were already established by the time kids reached the age of five and that they remained in these gaps throughout their years in school.
Whatever the case may be, summer learning loss still happens and is very noticeable among a large majority of students when they return to the classrooms in the fall.