Summer learning loss is a phenomenon parents and educators have long acknowledged as a significant setback to academic achievement. Math proficiency is particularly susceptible to the summer learning slide. Most students lose 2 to 2½ months of the math computational skills that they learned during the school year.
According to researchers at Johns Hopkins University, the summer slide can have long-lasting effects on a student’s academic life. “Early summer learning losses have later life consequences, including high school curriculum placement, whether kids drop out of high school, and whether they attend college.”
Just as experts widely agree that summer learning loss in math is a big problem, they also agree that summer math studies provide a solution. Studies have shown that students who attend summer programs with a math component, score higher on math tests the following school year than students who were unable to participate in summer instruction.
Indeed, Mathnasium students have shown significant increases in performance in fewer than 20 sessions. This number of learning sessions can easily fit into the summer months, giving kids a substantial leg up for the school year ahead, and enabling retention of mathematical concepts they’ve already learned.
In addition to preventing summer learning loss, studying math during the more relaxed summer break provides some significant advantages over studying during the school year. “Take advantage of the more relaxed environment of summer break as a golden opportunity to improve math performance,” suggests Larry Martinek, Chief Instructional Officer at Mathnasium (Video: "The Man Behind The Method").
“During summer break, children typically have a lot of unstructured time, allowing them to unplug their busy minds and become more focused. These are ideal conditions for effectively absorbing new information and having a sudden ‘aha’ moment when concepts click into place. We have found the summer to be a great opportunity for students to work on mathematics and have seen children make great strides with a serious commitment of just two to three hours a week,” Larry says.