A keyboard displays a key reading "summer learning loss."

Is summer learning loss real?

How I lost faith in summer learning loss--one of education research’s classic results

Every summer, the news is filled with stories about summer learning loss. The warnings sound dire: two months of math learning lost for most students every summer, and two to three months of reading learning lost for low-income students, according to the National Summer Learning Association. By the ninth grade, “summer learning loss during elementary school accounts for two-thirds of the achievement gap in reading between low-income children and their middle-income peers,” the association says.

There can be no doubt about it: as American children lounge poolside, watch too much television, and play too many video games, most are forgetting what they learned in school last year, and low-income students are falling even further behind.

Related content: 9 resources to prevent learning loss

It sounds plausible. But how reliable are these claims? How many of these findings can be replicated? Is summer learning loss really a thing?

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