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What is Summer Learning Loss and How Can Progress Learning Help?



School’s out for the summer! Now’s the time for students to relax, play outside, and watch a bit more TV. But for many teachers and parents, the summer break can often be a cause for concern. With school out of session, students are not actively learning and may even forget some of what they learned over the past school year. This is known as summer learning loss and can have serious effects on students across K-12.

What Is Summer Learning Loss?

Summer learning loss, also known as the “summer slide” or the “brain drain,” is the phenomenon where students lose academic knowledge over the course of the summer. A recent study from the American Educational Research Journal found that the average student in grades 1-8 losses between 17-34% of the prior year’s learning gains over the summer break. 

For low-income students, the statistics are even worse. Research from Leveraging Summer for Student Access indicates that unequal access to summer learning resources in elementary school accounts for two-thirds of the 9th grade achievement gap between low-income students and their middle-class peers. This is directly correlated to graduation rates and explains, in part, why low-income students are less likely to graduate high school.

Research has shown time and time again that summer learning loss has a direct effect on the achievement gap and makes it that much harder for students from low-income families to catch up.

How Can Progress Learning Help?

The good news is that there are resources out there that can help with summer learning loss. One such resource is Progress Learning. We believe that by addressing learning loss now over the summer break, we can help narrow the achievement gap and level the playing field for all students. Here’s how we do it.

Before heading out for the summer, teachers can use our industry-leading diagnostic tools and progress monitoring reports to see where students stand in comparison to state standards. Once they’ve identified where students are struggling, they can create and send students home with highly engaging summer assignments for review, remediation, and acceleration.

For younger learners, teachers should send students home with Progress Learning login instructions and credentials so both parents and students can log in anytime, anywhere. Encourage students to log in to the platform and incentivize them to practice in their highest need areas with Galaxy Stars. Students will be motivated to rack up Galaxy Stars and move their rocket up to their current grade level. Another idea is to create graphic organizers and thinking maps that are specifically suited to each student and their learning level. These can be used as a visual support to scaffold the learning and practice within Progress Learning.

For at-risk students in elementary and middle school, our Liftoff system uses adaptive intervention, as well as instant and long-term rewards to motivate students. When students complete their diagnostics, each student receives an individualized learning plan that recovers learning gaps in vertical alignment. The system also integrates English and Spanish language

support, as well as text-to-speech support, to better meet a diverse set of learning needs. On top of that, Liftoff Adaptive Intervention pairs with purpose-built measures and tools from NWEA Map so that educators in summer programs can better target instruction at every level.

It is summer, after all, and you don’t want students to feel burned out or bored during their summer break. Keep students engaged and motivated with over 300,000 standards-aligned question types and tons of interactive games and activities. Students will love the Progress Learning material so much, they won’t even know they’re learning!

Request a demo to see how Progress Learning can help prevent the summer slide among your students today.

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