The school year in the U.S. is, on average, 180 days long. The South Korean school
year is 220 days long. The Japanese school year is 243 days long. ...America doesn’t
have a school problem. ...It has a summer vacation problem.-Malcolm Gladwell from
Research Regarding Children’s Learning from Summer Learning Loss Researchers
50% of the achievement gap is due to summer learning loss.
Summer learning loss is the loss of academic skills and knowledge over summer vacation.
Learning loss varies across grade level, subject matter, and family income.
On average, students score lower on standardized tests at the end of the summer than
they do at the beginning of summer (on the same test). Summer loss for all students
is estimated to be equal to about 1 month (Cooper 1996), but this varies across subject
Mathematics - 2.6 months of grade-level equivalency loss for math computation.
Reading- Low income students generally lose about 2 months of reading achievement.
Middle income students experience slight gains in reading performances.
Low-income students slip as much as three months in reading comprehension, compared
with middle-income students.
Loss is morepronounced for math and spelling skills than for other tested skills
because, without practice, these skills are most susceptible to being forgotten.
(e.g., Cooper & Sweller, 1987).
All students are impacted, regardless of home resources. All students lose math
skills but reading skills loss differs. Middle-income children showed gains but low-income
children showed losses.
Substantial economic differences were found in reading skills. By some measures,
middle-income children showed gains in reading achievement over summer with more
books and reading opportunities available. (See also Alexander, Entwisle, & Olson,
Regardless of family income, students made similar progress during the school year,
but the economically advantaged kids held steady or progressed during the summer
and disadvantaged students fell back.