Is Summer School Harder on Students from Lower-Income Families?

Posted by Archie on Jun 10, 2021 12:36:41 PM

What is Summer School?

black bicycle parked in front of building

When you ask a high school student how they want to spend their summer, taking classes is probably not the answer you will get. 

Nevertheless, summer school enrollments have consistently increased over the years, as found in a study conducted by ThinkImpact. For example, in 2017, 41% of high school students enrolled in summer school.

Summer schools can positively impact a student's academics, such as improving grades, getting a head-start on prerequisites and college classes, getting ready for college, and more.

However, according to the same study, just 18% of low-income students will enroll in summer school compared to 29% of non-poor households. That means children from low-income families lose ground in learning over the summer compared to their more affluent peers.

So let us try to answer the critical question, is Summer School harder for Lower-income students?

While summer school can be difficult for all, it can especially be hard on lower-income students who are much more likely to have to work in the summer, often full time, or take care of other family members.

However, certain factors can decide whether or not summer classes will be harder or easier than regular classes.

man writing on paper near book on table

A pared-down syllabus

Limited time does not allow for everything to be crammed in and hence requires teachers to tailor their courses to only the most essential aspects. So the students have to learn only the parts included in the coursework. However, each class is crucial because of the same time constraints, and missing a single lesson or assignment can set them back.

Same classwork etiquettes and classwork load

Students will have to show up on time and regularly, finish their homework, and limit their extracurricular activities to get above-average grades on their exams. 

There is also a significant amount of material they need to grasp fast, which leaves no time for procrastination. 

However, on the plus side, it is often not regular faculty who teach in the summer, but graduate students or postdocs who tend to be more lenient than regular faculty.

They already know this stuff

If they are retaking the class that they did not do well in - they already know the stuff, and it can help with learning and getting a better grade.

No time to forget

The classes are packed so tight that there is no time to forget what they learned, but they also need to learn a lot faster.

Smaller class sizes

Smaller classes indicate students get more personal attention from their teachers. 

What can you do for them?

man in green crew neck t-shirt holding silver fork

Create a Brave Space for them

Beyond the electronic connection, we need to connect emotionally -- especially in times of anxiety and uncertainty. So create a brave space for them to share their story without judgments. The best way to start is by sharing your story to make them comfortable and feel accepted.

Discuss their course load and time constraints

We cannot begin to comprehend the emotional and physical toll these times have taken on our students. The best we can do is accommodate their needs and help them prioritize. So, ask about their course load, offer after-hour help if they cannot attend a class, and provide resources to manage their time better.

Provide 24/7 Online Tutoring resources- so they can get homework help any time they want

PhotoStudy has helped millions of students worldwide, and thousands of TRiO students in the US catch up on schoolwork, deep dive into mathematical reasoning, and study any time they want. With access to 24/7 tutoring solutions such as PhotoStudy, your students can learn at their own pace, at their convenience. 


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