Tag: stem

The Effects of Summer Learning Loss on Low-Income Students

Students and parents alike usually view summer as a time for well-deserved relaxation and a break from learning. However, this break from learning can have consequences that are detrimental to students during the following school year and beyond. More than half of the achievement gap between low- and med/high-income students is due to unequal access to high-quality summer learning opportunities. Low-income students often can’t afford the summer camps, intensive programming or worldly vacations that their more affluent peers attend, and often spend their summers watching TV or babysitting their siblings. Most students lose about two months of mathematical computation skills over the summer. Low-income students also lose more than two months in reading achievement, while their mid/higher-income peers actually make slight gains. This achievement gap has more and more of an effect on students as they complete more schooling. These summer knowledge losses compound so greatly that it has even been identified as part of the reason that low-income kids are less likely to graduate from high school or enter college (SummerLearning.org). Not only do students lose knowledge, many also gain unhealthy amounts of weight during the summer due to a lack of balanced meals at home and lack of exercise they normally get from recess, organized sports or gym class. Students gain weight on average two to three times faster than they do during the school year (Edutopia.org). As you can see, it’s important in many aspects of a child’s life to have access during the summer to programs […]

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Summer Learning Day 2015

Many adults still vividly recall their time at summer camp: canoeing, arts & crafts, field day and all of the social aspects that make summer camp such an unforgettable experience. Unfortunately, these enriching programs are often reserved for middle to upper class students, as many low-income students are unable to participate due to high cost, family obligations, lack of knowledge of high quality programs or other barriers. When students are unable to access summer learning opportunities, they lose out on much more than fun. Researchers from John Hopkins estimate that roughly two-thirds of the achievement gap between low-income and higher-income students in the ninth grade is a result of unequal access to summer learning opportunities during elementary school. Low-income students lose an average of more than two months of reading achievement, while middle and high-income students actually improve their reading skills over the summer, according to the same study. This lost time contributes to the lower high school graduation rates among low-income students, which in turn sets many children up for lifetimes of economic hardship. Additionally, summer learning opportunities have been linked to increases in self-esteem, self-confidence and motivation, meaning low-income students have fewer opportunities to develop these crucial soft skills. Central Texas educators are doing their part to work to close this gap. In Austin, there are currently 64 summer programs hosted by 60 different organizations dedicated to expanding access to summer learning opportunities. These programs have enrolled over 32,000 youth and represent the combined efforts of school districts, […]

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