“Use it or lose it!” Adults may have seen this adage on a meme about aging, or heard the advice from a sage physician. But the advice applies to learning, too— and especially what happens for some students during summer breaks.
It makes sense: We lose our skills at what we don’t practice regularly, and that applies to all the skills involved with learning. Research spanning back over 100 years shows that students typically score lower on standardized tests at the end of a summer vacation than they do on the same tests at the beginning of summer.
So many measures of student success are calculated in test scores. But many school leaders now seem to doubt whether standardized scores measure whether schools are effective.
A recent Gallup poll found that nine in 10 of U.S. K-12 public school superintendents say that engagement with school, student hopes for the future, and graduation rates are very important measures of school effectiveness. But only 9% of those superintendents described standardized test scores in the same way.
The Gallup Poll underscores that school leaders, as well as other school stakeholders, agree that it is vital for schools to assess …