11 SES 03 B, Student’s Achievement as Component of Quality
Parallel Paper Session
The question whether it is better for children to enter school at a younger or older age has been a subject of a long-lasting debate. A number of studies examining the effects of age at school entry on student outcomes have found significant age related differences in school achievement, with older students usually outperforming younger members of their class (e.g. Bedard & Dhuey, 2006; Borg & Falzon, 1995; Stipek & Byler, 2001). Younger students in a year group are also more frequently assessed to have special educational needs (Wallingford & Thompson Prout, 2000), specific learning disabilities (Martin et al., 2004) and behavioral and emotional problems (Polizzi et al., 2007). Depending on the compulsory school entrance age, cut-off date for school admission and school intake policies in the educational context in which studies are conducted, possible explanations of the differences in academic and socio-emotional outcomes between younger and older school entrants include maturational differences, differences in the length of schooling and season of birth effects. It has also been suggested that teachers may have an important role in enhancing or minimizing the effects of age at school entry on student achievement, through their expectations from younger students when compared to their older classmates (e.g. Sharp et al., 1994). The differences in achievement between younger and older school entrants are usually greater in lower grades of primary school and become smaller or disappear in higher grades of primary school (e.g. Oshima & Domaleski, 2006). This coincides with the period when students usually change teachers, which possibly provides a new opportunity for younger students to prove themselves and perform equally well as their older classmates (Hutchinson & Sharp, 1999). The purpose of this study was twofold. Firstly, we examined the differences between younger and older school entrants in several indicators of school adjustment – frequency of absence, placement in advanced learning groups and parental involvement in school. Secondly, we explored whether the effects of school entrance age on school achievement depend on some teacher’s and learning context characteristics, namely teacher qualifications, work experience and continuity of teaching the same students.
Bedard, K., & Dhuey, E. (2006). The Persistence of Early Childhood Maturity: International Evidence of Long-Run Age Effects. The Quarterly Journal of Economics, 121(4), 1437-1472. Borg, M. G., & Falzon, J. M. (1995). Birth Date and Sex Effects on the Scholastic Attainment of Primary School Children: A Cross-Sectional Study. British Educational Research Journal, 21(1), 61-74. Hutchinson, D., & Sharp, C. (1999). A Lasting Legacy? The Persistence of Season of Birth Effects. Paper presented at the British Educational Research Association Conference, University of Sussex, Brighton, 2-5 September. Martin, R. P., Foels, P., Clanton, G., & Moon, K. (2004). Season of Birth is Related to Child Retention Rates, Achievement, and Rate of Diagnosis of Specific LD. Journal of Learning Disabilities, 37(4), 307-317. Oshima, T. C., & Domaleski, C. S. (2006). Academic Performance Gap Between Summer-Birthday and Fall-Birthday Children in Grades K–8. The Journal of Educational Research, 99(4), 212-217. Polizzi, N., Martin, R. P., & Dombrowski, S. C. (2007). Season of Birth of Students Receiving Special Education Services under a Diagnosis of Emotional and Behavioral Disorder. School Psychology Quarterly, 22(1), 44-57. Sharp, C., Hutchinson, D., & Whetton, C. (1994). How Do Season of Birth and Length of Schooling Affect Children’s Attainment at Key Stage 1? Educational Research, 36(2) 107-121. Stipek, D., & Byler, P. (2001). Academic Achievement and Social Behaviors Associated with Age of Entry into Kindergarten. Applied Developmental Psychology, 22(2), 175-189. Wallingford, E. L., & Thompson Prout, H. T. (2000). The Relationship of Season of Birth and Special Education Referral. Psychology in the Schools, 37(4), 379-387.
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