Additional time in school and high-dosage tutoring (from tutors that nobody can find) have been the two big strategies pushed by education pundits and some researchers to help students catch-up academically from the pandemic.

A big new study has found that students attending summer school gained no benefit in reading (according to test scores) and gained a 0.03 standard deviation benefit in math scores (“0.2 or smaller is considered to be a small effect size, a of around 0.5 is considered to be a medium effect size”).  The study’s authors also say most of that improvement came from the youngest students.

However, as far as I can tell (though, perhaps I missed it), the researchers omit what seems to me to be a critically important factor – though they say the districts pushing summer school enrollment talked about summer school as a “camp,” it’s not clear if they just used the same curriculum that they used during the year.

I still remember years ago translating for a colleague who was talking with a parent.  My colleague was explaining that he offered tutoring after school several days a week.  The parent responded, “If you’re just doing the same thing that didn’t work during the day, doing more of it is not going to help my son.”

I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again – adding school time and aspiring to get tutors are fool’s errands (and I also have concerns about the whole “learning loss” framework).

Check out my ideas for what will work at RESEARCHERS – AGAIN – OFFER INTERESTING DATA & FEW PRACTICAL SUGGESTIONS ABOUT ACCELERATING LEARNING – HERE ARE BETTER ONES.

ADDENDUM: You might want to read this Chalkbeat story about the same study, as well as this article from The Hechinger Report.