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At Futures Academy, we are constantly researching and sharing relevant topics that affect our students and families. We also have guest bloggers sharing their research and best practices. Read our blogs to learn more! 

Avoid Summer Learning Loss in Middle School and High School

May 7, 2019

When the school bell rings for the first day of school in the fall, students file into their classrooms in a new grade level. However, testing results show that students start fall semester with lower rates of achievement than when they left at the end of previous school year. Research has shown that long summer breaks are not the best for student learning outcomes. This impact that summer has on students has been called "summer learning loss" or the "summer slide". When students take such a long break, they are not continuing to use the knowledge that they have gained over the year and require extensive review when the school year starts. The Review of Educational Research published a study that examined the impact of a summer break on achievement test scores. The study found that the areas most negatively impacted were math and spelling. Students may have access to summer reading programs through their libraries or they may be encouraged to read at home for leisure, but math skills and spelling skills are rarely sharpened during the summer months and most students start the new school year out behind. Additionally, math and science course are structured so that knowledge and skills build from year to year and from topic to topic. Basic levels are integral to continued understanding, and if there are gaps in that knowledge, it can be difficult to progress in the future. According to more recent research conducted by NWEA on their annual MAP scores, "summer learning loss" increases as a the student gets older. Elementary school students showed a 20% loss in reading gains and 27% loss in math gains while middle school students showed a 36% loss in reading gains and a 50% loss in math gains. These figures are significant, and demonstrate that learning loss is an issue that needs to be addressed. 

While some schools are changing their schedules to a year-round school option, with more frequent shorter breaks, this has not been broadly adopted across most of the United States. One option parents may consider is summer school. Few public school districts have developed summer school programs because it can be expensive and difficult to staff. Research has shown that students can make similar gains in education through independent programs. These programs give them the opportunity to review material that was challenging to them during the year. They can also fill in "gaps" and practice key concepts that they may have missed during the year so that their foundation is solid for the fall semester. Additionally, summer courses can provide an opportunity for students to earn credits back if they did not pass a course. This is called "credit recovery" or "grade remediation". Students can stay on track educationally or even progress at an accelerated pace. 

Futures Academy recognizes the importance of a positive and rewarding summer school experience. Campuses offer innovative summer courses that focus on hands-on experiential learning. Students can work at their own pace with personalized, paired or group instruction. Start the next school year strong--Request information today!