The research is mixed on the ‘Summer Slide’; the commonly held belief that students regress in learning when they take three months off for a summer break. The research describing the summer slide is mixed, and most focuses on socio-economic status in younger students. Very little research describes the validity of a summer slide in high school students.
If the summer slide exists, we’re in for the biggest slide of our lives. 55.1 million students are currently engaged in some form of distance learning. Many will spend more than five months outside of the classroom. Participation in distance learning is mixed, we are confronting the reality that not all students are prepared to learn autonomously.
We trust that our students are putting their best effort into their coursework. While students are doing the best they can, school leaders are looking at a dearth of actionable student data. The common summative and diagnostic assessments we rely on to inform our planning will be scarce. Most states have canceled standardized testing, and common local assessments must move online. The data that we use to place students and plan a master schedule will be unreliable. School leaders are starting to realize that when students return to campus in Fall of 2020, the system will need to show lots of flexibility and patience while we re-sort students into their best placements. While high school teachers are accustomed to teaching students with different levels of readiness, the gaps may be wider in the coming school year. It will be much harder to assess if a student is ready to move to the next level in math or is equipped for AP/Honors coursework.
When considering the potential ‘quarantine slide’ and the lack of reliable student data, some schools are searching for a common assessment to administer when students return to school. Common assessment results can be used to establish a new baseline, and inform student placement decisions. After five months of learning independently, both students and teachers will appreciate a clear understanding of their academic readiness.
There are several considerations when planning a common assessment for the return to school in Fall 2020:
Illuminate Education and Horizon Education have a solution for schools that are concerned about the ‘quarantine slide’. The College Readiness Package provides practice SAT/PSAT or ACT/Pre-ACT assessments to meet the need for common assessments. Users receive actionable data at the student, classroom, site, and district level. The Fall assessments will help teachers and students set a baseline, while Winter and Spring assessments can measure growth over time. Help your students prepare for college admissions exams while collecting actionable data at every level.