Just as the school year begins to draw to a close, all stakeholders in education need to consider that one of the most detrimental forces in education today is summer vacation. The agrarian school year negatively impacts student achievement. Students at every grade level experience the “summer slide” when they are not routinely practicing skills (reading, writing, computation).
A meta-analysis of 138 influences was published (2009) in Influences And Effect Sizes Related To Student Achievement by John Hattie and Greg Yates. Their results are posted on the Visible Learning website. They ranked the effects of completed studies (international), and using data from these studies they demonstrated an influence greater than .04 was a contribution to student achievement. For their finding on summer vacation, 39 studies were used to rank the effect of summer vacation on student achievement. The findings using this data revealed summer vacation as having a negative effect ( -.09 effect) which ranked summer vacation at 134/138.
An average student will spend 96 weeks or roughly two years of their academic life in summer vacation days that negatively impacts their achievement. In light of the evidence, summers off may be a tradition that needs to be revisited and revised.