Should You Be Worried About the Summer Slide?

06/05/20247 minute read
Should You Be Worried About the Summer Slide?

For some of us, summer is just around the corner, and that means finally getting a chance to enjoy the sun, put away the books, and spend countless hours relaxing outdoors or playing video games. It's a time when students and teachers can feel relieved after months of hard work, reading, writing, and exam preparation.

The summer break is well deserved, but with two months of vacation, what impact could this have on all their recent efforts? Could it all go to waste? Educators use the term ‘summer slide’ to explain the learning loss that happens over the summer months. So should parents and students be worried about the potential learning regression? Let’s explore.

How real is the summer slide?

The concept of the summer slide dates back over 100 years. A study conducted in the 1980s based on student test scores showed that extended time off from school, spent playing at the beach or watching television, led to greater learning loss compared to students who continued studying during the break. "All young people experience learning losses when they do not engage in educational activities during the summer," (White, 1906; Heyns, 1978; Entwisle & Alexander, 1992; Cooper, 1996; Downey et al., 2004).

In another study, The Effects of Summer Vacation on Achievement Test Scores (1996), found that summer learning loss was equivalent to a 36% decrease in reading and a 50% decrease in maths for seventh-grade students. The same research also found that nine out of ten teachers spend the first several weeks of each school year reteaching subjects covered in the prior year.

While these studies were significant and have shaped the way educators view the summer break, today in a new study by Paul T. von Hippel, a professor at the University of Texas at Austin, “Do Test Score Gaps Grow Before, During, or Between the School Years?”, he challenges their conclusions.

Paul's study uses evidence to find that the original testing is inconsistent regarding whether gaps grow faster during school or during summer. However, while the original data may be outdated, he continues to conclude that studying over the summer break can significantly help improve learning gaps in student achievement.

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Avoid the summer slide

The key to keeping on top of your studies over the summer is simple - keep learning! This doesn’t mean spending hours a day reading over past course notes. It could be as easy as taking 20 minutes a day to read over the material you’ve learnt, or going over maths equations you found difficult throughout the year.

Here are other fun ways you can incorporate learning into your summer break:

Check out local webinars or workshops

Attending webinars and workshops can provide students with valuable insights into college admissions, career exploration, or even skill-building. College-focused webinars can offer guidance on application processes and essay writing, while career exploration events can connect students with industry professionals who share tips on various fields. These are great events for networking opportunities, where students can build connections with experts or other students interested in these topics.

Continue Reading

While it’s not everyone's favourite hobby, reading can help retain knowledge, and improve vocabulary and writing skills. It doesn’t need to be a textbook, find something you enjoy, like a short novel or a magazine. If fiction isn't your thing, try articles on topics that you’re interested in.

Play Maths Games

Learning loss in mathematics can often be more notable than in reading, so focusing on maths in the summer is essential. Get creative! Make it a family affair by playing chess, card games, or get in the kitchen and bake a cake (lots of measurements involved). Using apps and puzzles can also help to challenge your logical thinking and won’t take up too much of your day.

Practice Exams

Summer is an ideal time to focus on standardised test preparation without the distractions of a busy school schedule. Setting aside a few hours for practice exams can help you to become familiar with the formatting and timing. These mock examinations can also help to identify areas that need improvement.

If you're a morning person, take a test early in the day when you're most alert. The best part of summer break is the flexibility to choose a study time that suits you. By preparing ahead of time, you'll reduce stress and feel well-prepared when you return back to school.

View 2024 Exams Dates:

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Brush up your language skills

Apps like Duolingo or Babbel are a great way for students to review their language skills, or pick up a new one. These apps are not only free but super easy to use. With interactive exercises that focus on vocabulary, grammar, listening, and speaking, students can practice their language skills, and most importantly, they’re fun.

Join CGA's Summer Program

CGA’s Summer Program is the perfect way for students to combat the summer slide and advance in their studies. Aimed at students looking to improve their academic profiles before the new school year, our program is an opportunity for students to dive into new subjects, deepen their knowledge in current areas of study, and earn valuable credits.

Our Summer Program ensures that students remain intellectually stimulated throughout the summer, effectively bridging the gap between school years. Through engaging coursework and interactive learning, students maintain, and even enhance, their academic skills, ensuring they return to school sharp and prepared.

For more program details and start dates visit the link below, or speak to an Academic Advisor today.