Slowing the Summer Slide–Part II: Math

summer slide, mathematics, achievement gap, Imagine MathAs we discussed in a previous post, the typical American student enjoys a three-month break from school for summer vacation, providing well-deserved rest from the rigors of academia.

But studies suggest the summer fun may also come at a price.

According to a 2011 study by researchers at the RAND Corporation called “Making Summer Count: How Summer Programs Can Boost Children’s Learning,” summer break – albeit necessary and beneficial in many aspects – could potentially set some students back two to three full months of grade-level equivalency if not supplemented with additional summer learning support.

The RAND study also indicates that the summer slide is more pronounced in mathematics, a subject in which learning decay occurs more rapidly over summer vacation simply because of math inactivity. Students may read over summer vacation, but few practice their math skills. Read more »


Closing the English learner achievement gap: What’s next?

New findings from the National Center for Education Statistics show that the gap between Hispanic English learners and their white classmates remains as wide today as it was in the 1990s. In other words, the English learner achievement gap hasn’t narrowed much in the last 20 years.

But solving this problem isn’t about identifying what went wrong. Instead, it’s about discovering what we can do right. “We can say, ‘Well, we tried and we failed, so let’s not try anymore,’ or we can look at the data and say, ‘If 20 to 25 percent of your school system’s kids are not doing well, we need to do something urgent,’” said Raul Gonzalez, director of legislative affairs for the National Council of La Raza, a Hispanic-advocacy organization.

So what should that something urgent be?

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