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Abstract

The activities in which students are involved in during summer have amajor impact on their learning capability. This is evident from thedifficulties in integrating classroom concepts immediately aftervacation. However, this remains a controversial issue among parents,and educators. Studies indicate that while educators support summerlearning, majority of parents are against summer learning programs.

Theoretically,while school is all about learning, students are involved innon-academic activities. However, studies have identified somenegative effects of summer vacation on learning capability. Despitethese controversies, this paper aims at identifying the benefit ofsummer learning program and designing a summer learning program.

Aqualitative research method is used in the analysis of summerlearning loss among students. Small and effective sample groups of 75subjects will be selected based on given characteristics from a largegroup of teachers and parents from Hackensack Middle School. Some ofthe ethical issues considered in the study included approval from theschool management and social research risks such as privacy, falsedata and professional relationships.

Consequently,middle school summer learning programs are very significant. Theresults of the study can be applied in informing educations sectors’stakeholders on the importance of summer learning. One of therecommendations for achieving positive social changes is

encouragingpositive teacher-student relationship. Previous studies indicate thatteachers that have positive social bonds with students nurture acooperative classroom environment that enable students and teachersto engage in a socially and academic beneficial manner. Besides,teachers that understand economic and gender orientation of studentshave a positive social changes that ensure students are interested,connected and involved in schoolwork. This will also prepare them tobe better society members as educators can personally follow-up onstudents’ affairs even during the summer vacations. On the otherhand, positive social relationships enable students to consultteachers about any issue that could be obstructing smooth learning.

Evidence of the Problem at the Local Level

Accordingto National Summer Learning Association (1906), there existed anachievement gap between learners. To gain a more objectiveperspective, the research was conducted on the issue of summerlearning and the effect the learning progress of the learners. Theresults showed that students’ achievement gap is widened by summerlearning loss (Think Stretch, n.d). Students, teachers and parents atthe local level have attempted to solve the problem through summerlearning programs, but have not been effective (Meece &amp Eccles,2010).

Section 1

Summerlearning loss underlines the loss of skills and knowledge by studentsduring the summer vacation. This loss results from the long summervacations as students have the tendency to forget the skills andknowledge learnt earlier on in the semester, thanks to failure toengage in academic endeavors. Needless to say, this affects theacademic outcomes of the students in the long-term and could have abearing on their performance in the long-term. Essentially, scholarshave underlined the notion that it would be imperative that thelessons, knowledge and skills are cemented through giving themhomework (Borman &amp Boulay, 2004)

.Questions, however, emerge on whether this would be an effective wayof cementing the knowledge. This research aims at investigating theeffects of summer homework in lowering the learning loss amongstudents in 4th,5th, and 6th grade. Scholars have underlined the notion that summervacations are very essential to studentsin 4th,5th, and 6th grade especially considering their developmental stage.The main question for the research is “Whatare the views of parents and teachers about on summer homework?”

How summerhomework affects these learners is therefore very significant. Thestudy will be conducted at a middle school located in Hackensack, NewJersey. By investigating the effects of summer homework thepaper looks at both the positive and negative impacts of the same onthe elimination of learning loss. It also explores the viewsof parents, and teachers concerning the summer homework.

Accordingto Entwisle et al. (2000), during the summer students are engaged innon-academic activities, which often diminish their learningcapacities. The authors contend that for decades, scholars haveobserved that the period during summer vacation is the time whenstudents’ academic development declines significantly to the schoolyear. Likewise, most student’s academic skills decline during themonths of summer, and Entwisle et al. relates the decline is academicskills to the family socioeconomic status. Of course, this does notundermine the importance of summer vacations to the learning andacquisition of skills by students. In fact, scholars haveacknowledged that the simple act of resting and taking a hiatus fromthe academics has a positive effect on learning as it rejuvenates themind and increases the learners’ capacity to take on other skillsand knowledge (Alexander et al, 2007). However, while some studiessuggest that students may have difficulties integrating classroomconcepts at the beginning of the school term (McLaughlin &amp Smink,2009). Some educators are skeptical about summer homework arguingthat they add no value to the learning process (Sun, 2011). Mostproponents of summer vacation assert that due to students’developmental stage, summer vacations are very essential to studentsin fourth, fifth, and 6th grade. Moreover, about 66% of the academicachievement gap in language and reading among high school students isattributable to the summer vacation months (Entwisle et al. 2000).

Summerhomework has become a rule in the modern education systems all overthe world (McCombs et al., 2011).While teachers continue to assign summer homework the big question isresearch based evidence to show that summer homework is necessary anddoes it add any value to the learning process? Accordingto McCombs et al. (2011), the majority of educators assign summerhomework to their students to aid learning continuity. Additionalresearch on the effects of summer homework on the learning processwithin specific age groups and grades could prove beneficial.

Section 2: The Methodology

Datacollection

I am a teacher who works in another school district. I do not knowthe parents that I will be surveying, the results will be less biasedsince I am less likely to introduce my own information. I willensure that parents and teachers will give information restricted toanswering the requested information. To familiarize myself with theparents and teachers that will answer the survey, I will hold a briefmeeting introducing myself. I will also assure them the data theywill provide will be used for the purpose of the study only.Participants will be given guidance on the correct procedures foranswering the questions. Each participant will be assigned numbers.The numbers are assigned so as to allow for the safeguarding of theconfidentiality of the responses that they give. Further, this willallow for considerable randomness and elimination of bias asparticipants assigned to certain research procedures or questionswill be identified with their numbers only.

DataAnalysis

Thisstudy aims at evaluating whether homework does influence summerlearning loss. I have selected the Hackensack Middle School indistrict 37, in the state of NJ, as my study site. The parents comefrom diverse backgrounds, including social economic status andethnicities. The education level, financial stability, and place ofresidence are the factors that I will use in determining the attitudeof parents towards the summer homework. Previous studies indicatethat parents that living in urban areas encourage teachers to givetheir children homework that will guide them to study on their own(Cooper, 2003). However,

Conclusion

Thisstudy includes an equal number of men and women as respondents. Thisallows for the examination of whether the views are the same forindividuals in both genders or whether there are variations in thesame. Further, it allows for generalization of the results for allindividuals.

Section 3: The Project

Summer comes every year for students during this time, learnersbecome excited as they spend some time away from school. Moststudents consider summer as a time to meet with friends and engage inextracurricular activities. When summer relaxation ends and studentsgo back to school, most students fall behind the learning (Graham,2013). This learning loss makes teachers have to spend aconsiderable amount of time in re-teaching the students coursematerial at the start of the year (Hall, 2013). The number ofstudents that experience summer learning loss is higher for studentsfrom poor backgrounds compared to those from affluent families (Park,2014) (Park, 2014). This is because students from low incomefamilies do not have an access to books while at home (Park, 2014).However, on average, summer learning loss is evident amid thestudents from low income families and high income families (Park,2014). Emanating from this summer learning loss, summer homeworkemerges as necessary in reducing this learning loss (Entwisle et al.2000). The purpose of this paper is to investigate the effectof summer homework in reducing the learning loss amid students in4th, 5th and 6th grade given thatsummer vacations are critical to these students because of theirdevelopmental stage.

The Problem

Ithas been acknowledged that the long summer vacations that studentshave often result in summer learning loss. Summer learning loss canbe defined as the loss in academic knowledge and skills, which isexperienced by students over the summer vacation (Entwisle et al.2000). Given the stage of development in which the students in 4th,5thand 6thgrade are, it is often necessary to engage in extra-curricularactivities, an opportunity for which is provided by the summervacation as the students are not engaged by school work (Entwisle etal. 2000). However, due to the summer learning loss, summer homeworkis viewed as necessary. The problem that this paper tries toinvestigate is whether summer homework has an impact of reducingsummer learning loss amid students in the fourth, fifth, and sixthgrades given the significance of the summer vacation to thesestudents.

Rationale

Reason for Choosing the Project in Addressing the Problem

Oneof the reasons for choosing this particular project in addressing theproblem is because there has been a debate concerning whetherstudents should be given homework to do during the summer vacation.My choice of this subject was driven by the need to assess or examinethe impact of summer homework on summer learning loss particularlyfor students in the fourth, fifth, and sixth grades.

Inaddition, I aimed at providing parents and teachers with a rationaleor basis for either supporting or vouching against summer homeworksubject to the effects that it has on the summer learning loss. Ofparticular note is the fact that the mitigation of summer learningloss amid students is the main aim. The determination of whether thesummer vacation homework achieves this would go a long way inensuring efficient utilization of educational resources.

How the Project Fits in with the Data Analysis

Anexamination of the information collected from the Hackensack MiddleSchool in district 37, in the state of New Jersey reveals that thereare variations in the perspectives of parents regarding the efficacyof summer homework. This may be subject to their areas of residence.In the case of parents living in the urban areas, there issignificant support for the idea of education givers providing summerhomework to students during the summer vacation. They feel that thesummer homework encourages students to be in a position to study ontheir own. However, parents from rural areas do not support the ideaof teachers giving summer homework during summer vacation. Theproject fits in with the data analysis because individuals that comefrom families that have high incomes are likely to support educationmore compared to individuals that come from low income families(Schuchman, 2013). This is because most individuals from the highincome families have access to books and libraries compared to thosefrom low income families (Graham, 2013). This emanates from thereasoning that most high income families live in the urban areas,where they have access to the libraries and books unlike low incomefamilies that tend to be highly concentrated in the rural areas(Park, 2014). The project fits in with the analysis because most highincome families living in the urban areas are likely to supportsummer homework for their kids because themselves have undergonethrough the same system and they support every learning processbecause they are well educated to understand the value and importanceof supporting various education learning processes (Alexander et al,2007).

Reasons for Choosing the Genre

I chose the white paper genre. One of the reasons for choosing thisgenre is because the project is intended to update long termprofessionals in the teaching field concerning the trend in learning.Since the goal of the paper is investigating the impacts of summerhomework in reducing summer learning loss, individuals in theteaching profession will be provided with information concerning thistrend. Another reason for choosing this genre is because the projectdoes not provide or reach a decision that should be followedconcerning summer homework. The white paper acts like a researchpaper, where it does not need to provide an action that the targetaudience should or should not take (Graham, 2013) this being aresearch paper, I saw the need of choosing the white paper genre forthis project. In addition, I chose the white paper genre because Idesired to speak to a specific audience concerning the currentdevelopments in learning. The project has a sole purpose of informingteachers and parents on the current trend concerning the summerhomework in reducing summer learning loss.

How theProblem Became Addressed Through the Content of the Project

Theproblem that was earlier highlighted is addressed via the examinationof the views of the parents and teachers regarding the efficacy ofsummer homework in eliminating summer learning loss. It may beacknowledged that there are variations in the ideas pertaining tothis subject among both teachers and parents. Parents that supportthe idea are of the opinion that summer homework has an impact ofmaking their students learn independently without the aid of a tutornearby, which is critical in reducing the summer learning loss.However, those that do not support the idea are of the opinion thatsummer homework deny students an opportunity of engaging inextracurricular activities that are important in their development.Nevertheless, a large number of researchers have acknowledged thatsummer vacation homework results in the reduction of learning loss.Of particular note is the fact that the problem is generalized forother grades, in which case it may be applied to varied grades.

Review of the Literature

  • Students that do not take summer homework seriously or do not do the summer homework are likely to fail in tests that are given immediately after the summer vacation because they tend to forget almost everything that has been taught prior to the summer vacation (Entwisle et al. 2000).

.

  • Summer homework contributes positively to the learning of the student because it helps in preparing students for the subsequent lessons.

  • However, it may also have a negative effect on their learning, especially considering the impact it has on development. For instance, summer homework makes learners have less time for engaging in extracurricular activities that are exceedingly significant for the physical development of the students (Schuchman, 2013).

Further,it reduces the time that the students have to interact with theirfamilies and, subsequently, learn from them.

Studieshave indicated that teachers have a positive attitude towardsstudents being given summer homework (Graham, 2013). Teachers are ofthe opinion that summer homework is necessary since students in thefourth, fifth, and fifth grades have the tendency of forgetting a lotof things quickly (Schuchman, 2013). Therefore, they require aconstant reminder that will help them in remembering most of thethings that are taught (Hall,2013). The summervacation can make students forget a lot of things since it isconsidered to be a long break, where students can engage in otheractivities other than school work. As such, some teachers see theneed of giving students summer homework in order to make studentsremember a lot of things at the end of summer vacation. Teachers alsohave an attitude that summer homework is necessary because it has thecapacity of re-freshening what has been taught (Graham, 2013).

Thisis critical to the teachers because it saves time (Graham, 2013).When students are not given summer homework, they have the tendencyof forgetting what has already been taught. However, this time can beused in teaching something new rather than using the time inre-teaching the same things, when summer homework is given. Teachershave an opinion that without summer homework students will not becapable of retaining much of what has been learnt prior to the summervacation (Schuchman, 2013).

On the other hand, some parents have a positive and negative attitudetowards summer homework. Some parents feel summer vacation needs tobe enjoyed by students. When students go on summer vacation, theyshould be allowed to relax and engage in family activities(Woodsworth &amp Penniman, 2012). However, when they are givensummer homework, they do not get time to relax or engage in otheractivities out of the school work, denying them an opportunity tolearn new things other than the school work (Graham, 2013). However,some parents believe summer homework is necessary for students duringthe summer vacation because it helps in enhancing their performance(McCombs et al, 2011). The attitudes of parents differ because of theeducation level and economic backgrounds of the different parents(Schuchman, 2013). Most of the parents that support the idea ofstudents being given summer homework are those that have achieved ahigh education level and those that come from affluent backgrounds,while most of the parents that do not support the giving of summerhomework are from humble backgrounds and lack education (Graham,2013).

The debate concerning whether to give summer homework to students ofthe fourth, fifth, and sixth grades is a controversial one sincedifferent individuals have different attitudes and opinions. However,most studies have indicated that summer homework is exceedinglycritical to students, which makes it an important consideration inthe modern learning. Teachers need to make an important decisionconcerning the summer homework since it reduces the summer learningloss.

Conclusion

Although summer vacation is considered significant to students in thefourth, fifth and sixth grades, giving summer homework to thesestudents is perceived as critical. Summer homework helps students toget high scores since it has the capacity of keeping their mindsfresh concerning what has already been taught (Graham, 2013).Summerhomework, is an opportunity for students to enhance their readingachievements (Graham, 2013). Summer homework saves time. Whenstudents are not given summer homework, they have the tendency offorgetting what has already been taught this makes tutors spare anextra time in re-teaching whatever has been taught prior to thesummer vacation. However, this time can be used in teaching somethingnew rather than using the time in re-teaching the same things, whensummer homework is given. On the other hand, summer homework hasnegative impacts since it deprives students the time of engaging inother activities that are critical for their development. Forinstance, summer homework makes learners to have less time forengaging in extracurricular activities that are exceedinglysignificant for the physical development of the students (Schuchman,2013). Summer homework is perceived as critical, despitestudents deserving summer vacation for extracurricular activities.Therefore, educators should make the right decision in consideringsummer homework.

References

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Borman, G. D., &amp Boulay, M. (2004).&nbspSummer learning:Research, policies, and programs. Mahwah, N.J: Lawrence ErlbaumAssociates.

Duffet, A., Johnson, J., Farkas, S., King, S., &amp Ott, A. (2004).All work and no play: Listening to what kids and parents really wantfrom out-of-school time. Washington, DC: Public Agenda.

Entwistle, D.R., Alexander, K.L &amp Olson, L.S (2001). Keep theFaucet Flowing: Summer Learning and Home Environment. AmericanEducator, 25 (3), 10-15, 47

Mccombs, J.S., Augustine, C.H., Schwartz, H.L., Bodilly, S.J.,Mcinnis, B., Dahlia S. Lichter, D.S &amp Cross, A.B (2011). MakingSummer Count: How Summer Programs can Boost Children’s Learning.Arlington: RAND Corporation

McLaughlin, B. &amp Smink, J. (2009). Summer Learning: Moving fromthe Periphery to the Core. Denver, Colorado: Education Commission ofthe States. Progress of Education Reform, Vol. 10, No. 3.

Schuchman, B (2013). Reducing the impact of&nbspsummerlearning&nbsploss on students of poverty. New York:Routledge

Woodsworth, A., &amp Penniman, W. D. (2012).&nbspContexts forAssessment and Outcome Evaluation in Librarianship. Emerald GroupPublishing Limited.