School Effectiveness and School Improvement vol:20 issue:2 pages:215-233
Summer learning studies have been set up to investigate the evolution of initial group differences in academic achievement, for example, between low- and high-socioeconomic status (SES) children. Moreover, this approach has been used to demonstrate the absolute effect of going to school on children's learning. In the present study, we used multilevel piecewise linear growth modeling to analyze growth in mathematics skills throughout kindergarten and 1st grade. First, we added to the evidence of an absolute schooling effect by demonstrating that average learning rates were faster during both school years than during the intervening summer vacation. Second, mathematics achievement gaps between children from different socioeconomic, ethnic, and linguistic backgrounds were found to remain stable during kindergarten and the summer vacation. During 1st grade, however, the ethnic and linguistic achievement gaps disappeared, whereas the SES achievement gap remained unchanged. Finally, we found no evidence for school-level variation in summer learning rates.