As schools across the country have announced plans to remain closed through the end of the school year and institute distance learning curricula, many educators fear that long-standing opportunity gaps could become even greater.
Known as summer learning loss, or more colloquially as “summer slide,” often students will return after long breaks at lower academic levels compared to where they were at the beginning of the break. According to research compiled by the Brookings Institution, studies surrounding summer slide report that on average, summer vacation decreases achievement scores by one month’s worth of school-year learning.
For underserved students, this learning loss is often more pronounced. Detailed in what’s called the “faucet theory,” the flow of resources is unequal among children, and those who do not have the means to access engaging education during the summer tend to fall further behind.
As schools remain closed, what can we expect summer slide to look like this year? Recently, the NWEA’s Collaborative for Student Growth Research Center took existing summer slide research and created a new model estimating academic growth for students in grades 3 through 8. Using the term “COVID-19 slide” to define the potential academic losses, the findings are startling:
- Students are predicted to return to school in the fall with roughly 70% of the learning gains in reading relative to a typical school year
- In the subject of mathematics, students could return to school in the fall with less than 50% of their learning gains, and some might fall nearly a full year behind
According to the authors of the study, Megan Kuhfeld and Beth Tarasawa, their findings mimic the fears of teachers and administrators alike: “missing school for a prolonged period will likely have major impacts on student achievement come fall 2020.”
For students who already suffer disproportionately from summer learning loss due to a lack of resources, these findings are even more troubling. To keep regression to a minimum, Kuhfeld and Tarasawa recommend students and families have access to engaging instruction during these extended closures.
A blended learning solution
In response to the challenges currently faced by students, teachers and parents, the National Inventors Hall of Fame® (NIHF) has developed a flexible at-home solution: Camp Invention Connect™!
Developed by our expert education team and inspired by lessons and stories from our very own NIHF Inductees, Camp Invention Connect transforms the fun and exploration of our Camp Invention® Elevate curriculum into a unique at-home experience.
Comprised of four activity kits that are sent directly to each participant’s door, this flexible program can be a screen-free, self-led experience, or it can be augmented with optional online collaboration sessions and guidance from certified educators.
To learn more about how Camp Invention Connect can help prevent the effects of COVID-19 slide and ensure that students maintain high levels of academic performance, we invite you to visit our website!