Summer Learning Loss? Or Something More?

Origins and Research

We’ve all heard of “summer learning loss” or the “summer slide.” Scary statistics that tell us if students aren’t actively learning over the summer they’re losing knowledge. Math and reading are usually the two subject realms that are said to take the biggest hit.

A study conducted by NWEA in 2015 shows drops in both math and reading using MAP testing. Regarding this data, the author of this NWEA article, Megan Kuhlfield, PhD, says, “It is clear from our research with MAP Growth that we have reason to be concerned about summer learning loss, and we have much more to learn.” This was published in 2018.

More recent research, though, is showing some of those stats may not have been completely accurate. This Edutopia article posted in June of 2019 is concerned that the research done that introduced us to summer learning loss may have been based on distorted testing that inflated our fears.

Both articles note that the original research conducted in the 1970’s and 80’s, which is now 30+ years old. Not only does summer look different for students, as noted by Kuhfeld, we have changed the ways we measure student achievement. Even though some information was later updated, we had bought into the idea of the summer slide.

Teruda says, “…in the mid-’80s, when we switched to modern scoring methods that weighted the difficulty of questions, those distortions vanished and the achievement gap actually shrank as students got older. By then, however, the idea of a summer slide was already entrenched in the public’s mind. Had the original study been conducted a few years later, we’d probably still think of summertime as much-needed downtime and playtime.”

It does make sense that if you are taking a break in the summer you could “lose” knowledge, but if there’s a gap in learning in the summer, perhaps it’s more than a seasonal concern. Many students struggle in school. This could be because of a learning difference, social challenges,  mental health concerns, or a multitude of other reasons. For some students, the traditional school environment just isn’t the right fit.

At Fusion Academy, we want to help you find the best school fit for your child and family. It can be daunting to try and find a new school, especially if your child is struggling. We’d love to connect, hear your story, and find out what your education goals are. Even if you decide Fusion isn’t the right fit, we create partnerships within the community and can help guide you.

Below you’ll find some options available to help your child prepare for fall, or supplement your current fall plans. If you’re interested in our full-time academy and want to learn more, click here to find your nearest campus.

Prepare for Fall

Fusion offers a fall readiness program for students who could use support and a refresh of skills to head confidently into their fall semester. This two-week program is customized to reach the goals of each individual student. This may include reviewing skills from last year, learning important study techniques, or laying a foundation for an upcoming course.

If there is a class that your child is already dreading, taking it one-to-one with a teacher as a class for credit is an option. As an accredited school whose curriculum meets state standards, our courses can transfer over to your child’s current school. We’re open beyond traditional school hours, so even if there’s not time to complete the class this summer, it can continue into the school year.

Options During Fall

Beyond our full-time academy, we have supplemental support options for students to strengthen their education.


If you feel your child has lost skills over the summer, supplemental tutoring during the fall may be helpful. Our teachers are our tutors and can help across all subjects.

Classes for Credit or Enrichment

Is there a class that’s not offered at your child’s school that they want to take? They can take it at Fusion. Many students take advantage of our robust electives, unique foreign languages, our state-of-the-art music studio, and our tech lab. For a full list of our curriculum, click here.

Homework Support

On each Fusion campus you’ll find a Homework Café. This is a supervised space where students are able to work on homework and receive help from a teacher. For each class a Fusion student takes, they have Homework Café time to complete their coursework, so homework doesn’t have to go home.

If your student isn’t taking classes at Fusion, they can still join us for additional homework support. Click here to take a virtual tour of a Fusion campus and see what a Homework Café looks like.

Enhance Your Child’s Ability to Learn with COGx

Some of our campuses offer a program called COGx which assesses and then addresses cognitive gaps. Grounded in scientific research, this program follows a path of Teach, Train, Transfer:

1: Teach students the scientific principles that underpin learning success

2: COGx teachers will then purposefully select exercises to target the skills essential to student’s goals.

3: Taking what they’ve learned in the Teach and Train stage, we ensure students have the self-awareness (metacognition) and level of mastery required to transfer and sustain what they’ve learned outside of the program.

The whole process is personalized for each student. This is a great option for those who are concerned about potential cognitive weakness. Connect with your nearest campus to see if they offer this program.

In Conclusion

Though summer learning loss may not be as terrifying as we have been led to believe, we still want to help all students thrive throughout the year. If you need support figuring out what the best options are for your child, we’d love to help. Find your nearest Fusion campus here and connect with our Director of Admissions and Outreach by calling or using our contact form.