Knowledge Decay between Semesters
33 Pages Posted: 18 Jul 2015 Last revised: 12 Aug 2016
Date Written: October 1, 2015
Summer learning loss has been widely studied in K-12 schooling, where the literature finds a range of results. This study provides the first evidence of summer learning loss in higher education. We analyze college students taking sequential courses with some students beginning the sequence in the fall semester and others in the spring. Those beginning in the fall experience a shorter break between the courses. We test whether the length of that gap explains the students’ performance in the subsequent course. Initial results suggest that a longer gap is associated with lower grades. However, including student fixed effects eliminates the observed knowledge decay with a few exceptions: knowledge decay remains for students in language courses, for students with below-median SAT Math scores, and for students with majors outside STEM fields.
JEL Classification: I21, I28
Suggested Citation: Suggested Citation