As we navigate the impact of the pandemic on all aspects of our lives, we focus on what we’ve learned since spring 2020 and how to implement this knowledge to recover and rethink education.
We’ve seen great examples of learning at any time from any place, so it seems we should set aside old thinking—like the idea that learning stops when summer starts. In fact, proposing that students should take a break from learning has a negative effect on student achievement.
I’m a huge fan of the work of John Hattie, who has prepared a list of 250+ influences on student achievement. Here’s where doing nothing in the summer stacks up:
Summer vacation effect: -0.02
Likely to have a negative effect on student achievement
We know that throughout the pandemic, most students experienced at least some interruption in their schooling and may have not reached their full potential. That said, we also know children and youth learned and grew academically and socially due to the exceptional work of educators. Let’s look at what Hattie’s list of influences has to say about continued learning during the summer:
Summer School: +0.23
Likely to have a positive effect on student achievement
In some cases, summer school is perceived negatively, so how does something potentially efficacious earn a bad reputation? Perhaps it’s because it’s you typically have to attend summer school if you didn’t pass a test or get a good grade. What if we rethought summer school as a strategy for accelerating learning for all students? In so doing, perhaps we could move summer school into the most efficacious area on Hattie’s list: the blue zone, where we could potentially accelerate student achievement.
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