Study: Half of students lose 39% of year's learning over summer

A study published in American Education Research Journal, following students in grades 1 through 6 over five summers, shows 52% of students lost an average of 39% of their total school year gains during the summer months.

The study used data from Northwest Evaluation Association that included 200 million test scores for 18 million students in 7,500 school districts.

The research also identifies differences in resources like family income, parental time availability, and parenting skill and expectations as potential factors further widening the gap, as some students continue to gain knowledge over summer. And because many students haven’t been in school since March due to the coronavirus pandemic, many experts believe the extended period will exacerbate learning losses.

Prior research indicates race/ethnicity and socioeconomic status impacts summer learning, but it only accounts for 4% of the variance in summer learning rates. Efforts to address the issue have included experiments with longer school years and summer bridge programs, though more research is needed to determine their effectiveness.

For more information on the study, go here.