Summer Learning Loss Literature Review

As a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, the K-12 education system in the United States continues to experience an unprecedented wave of school closures in terms of the number of students and school days affected. At present, 17 states mandate or recommend that schools close for the remainder of the 2019-20 school year, and an additional three states intend to keep schools closed indefinitely. Even if other states reopen schools prior to the end of the current school year, districts face the difficult task of planning curriculum and instruction for 2020-21 while still uncertain as to the amount of learning loss students suffered.

The extraordinary nature of the COVID-19 pandemic means that no direct analogue exists to which districts may look for guidance. However, districts may benefit from studying other contexts in which students experience considerable out-of-school time, such as summer vacations.

This Brief Examines

Combat Summer Learning Loss


Implications for 2020-21 Academic Planning

Looking ahead to 2020-2021, Hanover’s findings suggest that districts should:


to engage students and families while schools remain closed, offering instructional resources to support learning at home


that susceptibility to learning loss may be different across grade levels, subject areas, and subgroups


to assess all students at the start of the next school year to gauge achievement levels and measure learning loss

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