By Smarty Guest Blogger, Nicole Girvan, Head of Lower School at Charlotte Prep
You may have heard of the “Summer Brain Drain” or “Summer Slide.” Both refer to the possible regression in math and reading abilities that often occurs during summer months. While it is highly likely regression takes place, I have wondered to what extent this notion is valid.
Professors from the University of Missouri- Columbia conducted a review of 39 different studies on the effects of summer vacation on student achievement scores. They created a meta-analysis of all of the studies and found that between the end of one school year and the start of the next, students lose a tenth of a standard deviation on achievement scores. What does this mean? According to the study, this tenth represents an average of one month of on-grade level instruction lost from the previous school year. While it does not require a month of teaching to regain the lost knowledge, it leads us to believe “summer brain drain” is real. *
As Head of Lower School at Charlotte Prep and a mother of three active boys, I know how important it is to have a balance. In addition to the academic exercises, children should have time to go explore, climb, swim, ride, and build. Summer is about enjoying breakfast together, exploring new places, and being able to see new things, as well as visit with loved ones.
The success and happiness of a child is more than academics. I encourage my kids to read books about topics that intrigue and interest them. I find ways to integrate math and science when we go on hikes, visit museums, and play at the beach. Learning is not exclusive to textbooks and tests! The key is to find a balance between school work and fun.
*Cooper, H., Nye, B., Charlton, K., Lindsay, J., & Greathouse, S. (n.d.). The Effects of Summer Vacation on Achievement Test Scores: A Narrative and Meta-Analytic Review. Review of Educational Research, 227-268.