In this article, we’ll focus on the learning loss that takes place for high school-aged students. We’ll look at how teachers and parents can work together to prepare these students for the next school year and graduation.
Learning loss studies typically focus on elementary and middle school and not quite as much on high school. Teachers can attest that learning loss continues to take place for high school students.
From reading comprehension to math equations to historical dates to scientific concepts, high school students experience academic losses during the summer. These losses are most noticeable in low-income students and students of color. The summer slide during high school, combined with the learning losses that occurred during each previous school year, means there’s a significant amount of knowledge that’s simply forgotten.
This makes it difficult for high school teachers because many students enter the school year behind where they should be. These students have a trimester or semester to catch up so there’s a lot of pressure on the teacher to get them there. High school students’ schedules change frequently because of the variety of credits required. Those students who start high school behind in their learning struggle to keep pace and often give up or drop out.
High school teachers try to prepare students for the next grade level and minimize the summer slide:
- Collaborate with subject area teachers in the upper-grade levels to develop and streamline curriculum
- Tutor students individually and in small group settings before and after school
- Work with other teachers, support staff, and coaches to mentor particular students who need additional help
- Assign in-depth summer projects due at the beginning of the next school year
- Review the most important skills during the last few weeks of school
- Meet with parents to discuss alternate assignment opportunities
- Regularly explain high school credit and graduation requirements and GPAs to all students
- Write letters of recommendation for enrichment programs, scholarships, academic awards, and college applications
Students in grades 11-12 have additional needs. Teachers and parents often help them explore options after high school graduation. From discussing the pros and cons of military service, trade school, and college to documenting volunteer work, signing them up to take SAT and ACT tests, writing college essays, and attending campus visits, there are numerous ways to help students in this age group prepare for life after graduating high school.