Top view of a group of students and their teacher lying on the grass and learning outdoors

Summer learning loss prevention is key in ensuring that no students are left behind when school starts up again.​​ Students who allow their brains to idle over summer risk a knowledge loss that leads to cumulative deficits year over year. Conversely, students who continue learning over the summer earn higher test scores and place into the most advanced courses.

School’s out, but that doesn’t mean learning has to stop; summer is an opportunity. We’ve assembled the following tips to ensure that you’re well-informed of the risks of summer learning loss and well-prepared to combat it!

The Research Behind Summer Slide 

Students lose about a month’s worth of learning over the summer. This summer learning loss is also known as the summer slide. When students don’t take the time during summer break to practice the skills they’ve learned during the school year, this knowledge fades. This is especially true for elementary students. 

Students who don’t continue practicing and learning key skills and knowledge over the summer risk a knowledge loss that leads to cumulative deficits year over year, potentially amplifying achievement gaps, according to a Johns Hopkins study. This means that the knowledge lost during summers in early elementary grade levels can put students behind in middle or even high school. 

Low-income students are most adversely affected. The same Johns Hopkins study found that students of disparate socioeconomic groups achieved similarly during the school year but diverged during summer, with two-thirds of the gap attributable to summer.

So, what knowledge is being lost? A study of students in 3rd through 5th grade showed that students, on average, lose about 20% of their reading progress from the last school year, and nearly 30% of their math progress. In combating this loss, we’ve put together the following tips and resources to help both younger and older students integrate math and reading into their summer break.

Tips for Preventing Summer Slide

How students should spend their summers ultimately comes down to previous outcomes, individual goals, and desire. Students who failed an academic course during the year are required to remediate over the summer if they want to remain on-level in the fall. Very young children or students in low-pressure academic environments may derive minimal benefit from summer studies. 

On the other hand, students attending academically rigorous schools with high ambitions would be well served to get ahead, lest they fall behind their peers who do study over the summer. In this case, read on to see our tips for integrating practice into summertime.

Avoiding Math Summer Slide

Behind every student who struggles in math lies the idea that only some students can do well in math. Although the common belief that certain people are inherently good or bad at math is just not true, it is deeply embedded in the educational system and in the mindsets of students. Let’s debunk the damaging myth of the “math brain” this summer and help all kids start succeeding in mathematics with the following resources! 

Practicing math is the key strategy to prevent summer learning loss in math – this could range from independent practice to parents helping their student practice. But how can students be motivated to practice math over the summer, when there’s plenty of other activities available to them? Gamification is one of the best ways to pique a child’s interest in math, encouraging them to practice their skills and avoid math summer slide. 

In addition to being fun, math games provide many benefits, such as instant feedback and a stress-free learning environment. Piqosity offers a gamification experience that encourages student engagement while they practice their skills, and we’ve assembled the following collection of (completely free) math activities and games to help younger students keep their math skills sharp this summer while having fun! 

Turning math into a fun summer activity can be a great way to inspire younger students. Does your child like the outdoors? Take them to a field of sunflowers and practice skip counting patterns, or go on a hike together and point out different geometric patterns present in nature. Is it a rainy day? Go to an art gallery and introduce them to the Golden Ratio. Or, you can head to the kitchen and practice fractions by baking some cookies. There are endless opportunities to keep kids learning math with hands-on activities this summer. 

Though math summer slide is most concerning for younger students, middle and high school-level math courses build upon each other – this means that taking the time to practice skills from earlier courses over the summer will help students be best prepared for their upcoming math class. High schoolers, try your hand at these practice problems, straight from Piqosity’s collection of practice tests, to refresh your understanding of Alegbra 1:

Preventing ELA Summer Slide

Though, on average, students lose more of their math knowledge than reading knowledge over the summer, practicing English Language Arts skills is vital to ensure they are holistically on-track with their peers to begin the next semester of school. Remember, studies show that students lose about 20% of their reading progress from the last school year over the summer.

The key tactic for ELA summer learning loss prevention? Reading! Not only does reading help students retain the skills they’ve learned over the school year, learn new vocabulary, and improve their reading comprehension capabilities, but students who read over the summer tend to develop a love of reading! This means that reading for fun and for school become easier when students read over the summer.

What should students be reading? Honestly: whatever they’re interested in, at a reading level that aligns with or slightly surpasses their own reading level. The books they’re reading should challenge students, but their complexity shouldn’t frighten them away from reading. That’s why introducing a fifth grader to Shakespeare might not be the best option; instead, research books based off of the student’s grade level, and find something that aligns with their interests, passions, or desires. 

Reading on its own is an effective way to practice reading comprehension, but taking practice tests is the best way to help you prepare to be tested on English skills. Featured in Piqosity’s ELA 8 course, here’s a sample test for you to gauge your current ELA capabilities:

Staying On-Track for College-Bound Students 

If you are planning on going to college, you should work to avoid summer slide for both math and ELA, regardless of your expected major. Are you thinking of going into engineering or computer science? Then you can’t afford to get rusty in math, and ELA prep can help you perfect your test scores. Do you want to study history or culinary arts? Retain your knowledge and you’ll be able to write college essays in a breeze and test out of math in college, which will save you time and money.

According to Harvard, students lose 2.6 months of math learning alone over the duration of summer. So if you are planning on taking the SAT in the fall, there is simply not enough time to gain that knowledge back. Keep your skills fresh this summer while preparing for the SAT with Piqosity’s competitively priced SAT test prep course, which comes with a free diagnostic test to gauge your current standing before you even get started practicing.

While you prep over the summer, remember these key dates coming up this fall:

  • Juniors and Sophomores: The PSAT primary test date is Wednesday, October 12.
  • Juniors and Seniors: The first ACT test is on September 10; the first SAT is on August 27.
  • Seniors: The Common Application for college opens on August 1.

Keep Your Skills Sharp this Summer With Piqosity! 

Now that you understand the importance of summer learning loss prevention and have the resources available to get started on this journey, we have an in-house offer for you!

Join Piqosity for FREE today (no credit card information required, no sneaky “free” trials). In addition to gaining access to valuable math resources and unique features, you will have the opportunity to take a free diagnostic test to get a baseline score. Then you can choose among the following competitively-priced online enrichment courses — including the full course versions of the above Algebra 1 and ELA 8 tests!

Piqosity’s Online Math Enrichment Courses:

Piqosity’s Online ELA Enrichment Courses:

More Resources from Piqosity: