While it is now clear that the pandemic has had a significant impact on student learning – especially for historically underserved students – we are still discovering the most effective ways to help students recover. It turns out that summertime has the potential to be a big part of the solution for some of our most marginalized students.
Recent findings from NWEA’s research team show the power of summer learning in changing academic trajectories for students. More specifically, the studies reveal that students with disabilities, rural students, and English learners make academic gains at rates equal to or faster than their peers during the academic year but experience greater learning loss when they’re out of school in the summer. The backsliding is so significant that it causes persistent or growing achievement gaps over the course of these students’ academic careers.
The lesson for pandemic recovery is clear. Summer learning provides an underutilized opportunity to help students regain lost ground due to COVID-19 and ensure that achievement gaps do not continue to widen. It should also be part of longer-term strategies to advance learning for historically underserved students. When summer learning is not part of the instructional strategy, the research suggests that it may lead to persistent opportunity gaps and diminished school-year gains over time. …Read More