Summer? Among other fascinating parts of Malcolm Gladwell’s “Outliers” is the research he presents in Chapter 9 about the disparity in educational outcomes between students from different income classes.
He posits this intriguing and provocative conclusion: The wealth-education gap is more-or-less explained by summer vacation from school (p.258). Students from families with lower incomes tend to not have educational enrichment over summer and see scores measuring their academic abilities stagnate or drop. In contrast, students from families with higher incomes typically continue learning over summer and improving their academic abilities. By 12th grade, 72% of the difference in academic knowledge and ability between students stems from the difference in how they spent their summers.
That’s worth repeating. Summer, not the school year, provided the best means for advancing and gaining an advantage. Which makes sense: every student learns during the school year, so it’s relatively difficult to gain an advantage over one’s peers when everyone is learning. Thus, the greatest determinant of who will advance is when most students are not studying. Those that are studying at those times (in summer) will gain an immediate advantage.
And that advantage is significant: 10% of everything the students of parents with high incomes learned academically was from summer academic enrichment.
The takeaway is obvious: If possible, students should continue learning and honing their academic skills over summer. If you would like, we can help. Ask us about our academic enrichment courses. We are committed to helping your children succeed.
p.s. If you’re interested, here are some dual credit summer programs for rising high school seniors: https://docs.google.com/document/d/1RwgUnG-ORgp3AYug1wtuj0oT4qgzArI2SWSGOqQX94k/edit?usp=sharing