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The estimation of summer learning rates

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posted on 2023-08-05, 10:52 authored by Michael S. Hayes, Seth GershensonSeth Gershenson

The activities and experiences that contribute to summer learning are potentially important inputs to the education production function, yet are relatively understudied by economists. We propose a method for identifying heterogeneity in summer learning rates when tests are not given on the first and last days of the school year and apply this method to data from the nationally representative Early Childhood Longitudinal Study – Kindergarten Cohort (ECLS-K). Generally, we find evidence of heterogeneity in summer learning that varies between gain-score and lag-score models of the education production function, and between math and reading achievement. Consistent with previous research, students from low-income households make significantly lower summer reading gains than children from wealthier households. However, we also find evidence of differential rates of summer math development by baseline academic ability, private school attendance, and summer school attendance.



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