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Does the Age That Children Start Kindergarten Matter? Evidence of Long-Term Educational and Social Outcomes

Jane Arnold Lincove and Gary Painter
Educational Evaluation and Policy Analysis
Vol. 28, No. 2 (Summer, 2006), pp. 153-179
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/3699530
Page Count: 27
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Does the Age That Children Start Kindergarten Matter? Evidence of Long-Term Educational and Social Outcomes
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Abstract

The appropriate age for students to begin school is an issue of debate for educators, administrators, and parents. Parents worry that young children may not be able to compete with older classmates; schools worry that young students will not be able to meet rigorous academic standards associated with school accountability. Past literature is inconclusive as to the overall effect of age at school entry. Some research suggests that younger students have lower average achievement in early elementary school, while others find that students with summer birthdates, who are assumed to be younger at school entry, gain more education on average. At present, little is known about the impact of age at school entry on education attainment as students transition from high school into college and the labor market. This study uses data from the National Education Longitudinal Survey to examine long-term effects of age at school entry on both educational and social outcomes, with special attention to those students who enter kindergarten a year later than their peers. The results of this study suggest that delaying kindergarten does not create any long-term advantages for students.

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