Summer learning loss is a phenomenon parents and educators have long acknowledged as a significant setback to academic achievement. According to researchers at Johns Hopkins University, math proficiency is particularly susceptible to the summer learning slide. Students lose two to two and a half months of the math computational skills they learned during the school year.
Additionally, 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.”
Experts widely 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 unable to participate in summer instruction.
Incorporating math studies into a student’s summer routine brings other significant benefits. “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 (www.mathnasium.com). “During summer break, children 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 months 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,” Martinek says.