Combatting Summer Slide

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Combatting Summer Slide

As educators, parents and students continue adapting to distance learning, efforts to maintain academic progress throughout the summer have become increasingly essential. While districts across the country work to provide quality education online, it is important that progress made during the school year continues uninhibited.

When this learning stops due to a lack of opportunities or resources, this is known as “summer slide.” In our recently published white paper, “Stopping Summer Slide,” we explore effective ways to prevent this type of learning stagnation from occurring.

Below is an excerpt from this white paper, followed by a link to read the report in its entirety.


The negative effects of summer slide   

As the school year begins in earnest following a long summer break, rarely do educators have the opportunity to teach new material that builds upon the previous year’s curriculum. Instead, because of “summer slide,” or the loss of learning that occurs over these months, according to the Brookings Institute, on average a total of one month of reteaching time is required to get students up to speed. An article recently published by PBS NOVA paints an even more alarming picture, and reports that some states have seen up to two or even three months of lost academic progress for students who “don’t stay engaged in their learning over summer vacation.”

For parents, educators and policymakers alike, summer slide represents a serious challenge that must be overcome. And yet, while the subject has been researched and debated since the early 1900s, the problem remains. For disadvantaged students especially, the results of summer slide are even more profound. In their paradigm-shifting book, “Children, Schools, and Inequality,” Johns Hopkins University researchers Doris Entwisle, Karl Alexander and Linda Olson explain this phenomenon with what they call the “Faucet Theory.”

Using the analogy of a faucet, the researchers explain that public schools create a stream of resources (meals, books, teachers, engaging activities, etc.) that benefit students throughout the year. While the flow of educational support continues for children with middle- and upper-class backgrounds due to the types of enrichment activities provided by their families, the same is not always true for lower-income students. Through no fault of their own, their “faucet” of resources tends to dry up in the summer due to lack of support.

The researchers found that this early lack of summer enrichment had a compounding effect, and that two-thirds of the ninth grade reading achievement gap in their sample size could be attributed to how these same students spent their summers during elementary school.


Read the full white paper

To download and read our free white paper discussing ways to stop summer slide, we invite you visit our website.

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