When Students Don’t Use What They Learn

by Terry Heick

With so much else to do and a subsequent loss of academic structure, most research shows children read less in the summer. How much less depends (you’ll read that word a lot in this post) on age, income level, geographical region, and other factors.

And how much of a bad thing you think it is for a student’s achievement scores to fall because of summer break depends on your perspective, too. But let’s assume you’re in favor of pushing academic achievement and the improved test scores that seem to reflect it. What do you need to know?

Well, first a glance the research. As with many topics in education, you can find wildly varying research findings to support an equally wider variety of interpretations and takeaways. Want to fund a 1:1 program? Somewhere there’s research to support it. Against that idea? There’s likely data somewhere that agrees with you. But in general the research on summer reading loss says one of two things:

Summer does tend to reduce academic achievement

What it impacts and how depends on content area, income level, age, and more.

The Problem Of Non-Transferable Knowledge: When Students Learn Unuseful Things

For example, in ‘The Effects of Summer Vacation on Achievement Test Scores: A Narrative and Meta-Analytic Review,’ researches concluded…

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