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Home-based activities were found to be more indicative of academic learning than any other activity.
- In both cohorts, reading independently, as well as reading and writing with parents, were stronger predictors of summer reading learning than attending summer camp or visiting novel places.
- While attending camp had a small impact on math learning in 1999, it had no significant effect on math learning in 2011.
Tutoring and attending summer school was associated with lower scores in the fall.
We know from prior studies that all children tend to learn at the same rate over the school year, but that over the summer, lower-income children learn far less than higher-income children — and that loss accumulates over time.
But increasing the number of academic learning opportunities available to lower-income students won’t necessarily bridge the achievement gap. At the very least, for academically focused opportunities to be effective, they need to be voluntary, rather than compulsory activities such as summer school or tutoring.