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Starting Kindergarten. What is the best age?. The factor most often used to determine entrance to kindergarten was age. (Saluja, 2000). June 1 July 1 Aug. 15, 31 Sept. 1, 2, 10, 15, 30 Oct. 1, 15, 16 Dec. 1, 31 Jan. 1 District decision in five states. State Entrance Comparisons.

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Starting Kindergarten

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starting kindergarten
Starting Kindergarten
  • What is the best age?
state entrance comparisons
The factor most often used to determine entrance to kindergarten was age.

(Saluja, 2000)

June 1

July 1

Aug. 15, 31

Sept. 1, 2, 10, 15, 30

Oct. 1, 15, 16

Dec. 1, 31

Jan. 1

District decision in five states

State Entrance Comparisons
entrance age dilemma
Entrance Age Dilemma
  • Is it better for the child to enter on time or to delay entry in order to become one of the oldest in the class?
academic redshirting
Academic Redshirting
  • Holding back to get ahead
who is held out
Who is Held Out?
  • Males
  • Caucasians
  • Middle + SES
  • Born second half of the year
9 of all 1 st and 2 nd graders had been held out of kindergarten

9% of all 1st and 2nd graders had been held out of kindergarten

3rd quarter = 11%

4th quarter = 13%


racial divide
  • White, non-Hispanic twice as likely as Black, non-Hispanic to have been held back
  • 360,000 yearly
difficulties interpreting research
Difficulties Interpreting Research
  • Mixed results
  • Youngest and oldest groups vary
  • Subjective vs. objective measures
  • Differences in school expectations
  • Controls for intelligence
social emotional
  • Do the youngest children in a group exhibit poor social skills?
  • Do they have problems adjusting?
  • If the children who delay entrance are from economically advantaged families…
  • If those advantaged children have higher achievement… then…
  • Differences in achievement may be just differences due to economic advantage.
  • (DiPrima, 1991)
social skills
Social Skills
  • Study Description: Sociometric interviews at kindergarten and 1st grade, teacher ratings, report cards, and self-reports
  • Findings: No differences in self-reported school adjustment, loneliness, perceptions of competence, or social acceptance related to school entry age.”
  • (Spitzer, 1995)
social skills1
Social Skills
  • Study Description: Parents and teachers rated second graders’ social skills. Those ratings were compared to kindergarten entrance age.
  • Findings: Kindergarten entrance age was not a predictor of later social skills.
  • (Springer, 1997)
spitzer cont
(Spitzer, cont.)
  • Findings:
  • Peer ratings of social acceptance not related to age in K or 1st grade
  • No report card differences in social development (but teachers said older children had better social skills).
  • Report cards did not reflect differences in physical skills, language, or math.
spitzer cont1
(Spitzer, cont.)
  • “Being among the youngest in the class was not related to either rejected or neglected social status.”
  • “…younger children were not at a social disadvantage.” (supports earlier research)
social skills2
Social Skills
  • Study Description: Used report card checklist of conduct
  • Findings: No conduct differences between youngest and oldest groups
  • (DiPrima, 1991)
social skills3
Social Skills
  • Study Description: Looked at scores on the standardized Behavioral Problem Index. Parent reports (Nationally representative sample)
  • Findings: 12% of held back children scored above 90th percentile (compared to 7% of children who entered on time). Rates increased with age. (Caucasians only)
  • (Byrd, 1997)
social skills4
Social Skills
  • Study Description: Parent reports about 1st and 2nd graders (from national survey 1993 and 1995)
  • Findings: For 1993 survey, parents reported that held out children had fewer negative comments from teachers than did children who had entered on time.
  • (Zill, 1997)
social skills5
Social Skills
  • Study Description: Looked for correlation between age and referrals for psychological services.
  • Findings: No differences related to age
  • (DeMeis, 1997)
  • “Children whose family income, background or circumstances put them most at risk for school failure remain at risk when they enter kindergarten a year older than their peers.”
  • (Ginsberg, 1999)
academic achievement
Academic Achievement
  • Does redshirting provide academic advantage?
  • Study Description: Used grades and standardized test results on large urban sample (longitudinal study)
  • Findings: Older entrants did slightly better in 1st grade due to math scores.
  • Four years later differences had disappeared
  • (DiPrima, 1991)
  • Study Description: Matched held back and on-time entrants for I.Q. and gender. Compared scores on standardized achievement tests at 4th and 5th grades.
  • Findings: Composite test scores were higher for held back children. Held back boys scored higher in reading.
  • (Crosser, 1991)
  • “Age at entrance was a far less powerful predictor than the socioeconomic variables in our covariate set.”
  • (DiPrima, 1991)
  • Study Description: National, longitudinal K-5 study
  • One-on-one assessments, teacher questionnaire, parent interview
  • Findings: Children who were a year older outperformed younger children born Sept.-Dec.
  • (America’s Kindergarteners, 2000)
america s kindergarteners cont
America’s Kindergarteners, cont.
  • Parents and teachers reported more task persistence in older children.
  • Reading, Math, and General Knowledge scores decreased with age at entry.
america s kindergarteners cont1
America’s Kindergarteners, cont.
  • Data collected fall, 1998
  • Baseline data
  • Does not reflect school achievement so must not be misinterpreted.
  • At the end of the kindergarten year, both groups had made a year’s growth.
  • Children were learning at about the same rate but they were learning different things.
  • (The Kindergarten Year, 2000)
  • Study Description: Looked at age and related referrals for special programs
  • Findings: No differences between young vs. old groups in academic difficulties
  • (DeMeis, 1992)
  • Study Description: Looked at achievement scores at the end of kindergarten
  • Findings: No differences by age if entered preschool at age 3. But, if children entered preschool at ages 4 or 5, the older ones scored higher.
  • (Gullo and Burton, 1992)
  • Study Description: Iowa Test of Basic Skills to measure achievement for redshirts and on-time entry (controlled for I.Q.)
  • Findings: “Redshirts, however, did not appear to gain any advantage in achievement as a result of delaying school entry.”
  • (Cameron, 1990)
  • Study Description: Review of entrance age literature
  • Findings: School age does not affect academic achievement
  • Both younger and older groups made a year’s progress
  • (Narahara, 1998)
  • Description: Reading and math standardized achievement test comparisons old K, young 1st, older 1st
  • Findings: At end of 1st grade children made the same progress
  • (Morrison, 1997)
morrison cont
Morrison, cont.
  • Differences were starting age differences.
  • Entrance age was not a good predictor of academic achievement.
  • Study Description: Achievement test scores and teacher ratings of Head Start graduates
  • Findings: Intelligence, not entry age, predicted achievement and ratings
  • (Grenninger, 1997)
  • Study Description: Compared delayed entry and retained children at grades 2, 5, 7
  • Findings: “With intelligence controlled for, delayed entry does not lead to achievement advantages.” It is an “ineffective intervention” to homogenize the classroom.
  • (Kundert, 1995)
  • Study Description: Parent reports about 1st and 2nd grade children who delayed or repeated kindergarten. (1993, 1995 National Survey)
  • Findings: (1993) Delayed entry received less negative teacher feedback. (1995) Delayed entry were less likely to have been later retained.
  • Delayed entry performed as well as those who started when eligible. Delaying does not appear to help or harm later school performance.
  • (Zill, 1997)
  • Study Description: Report cards (Kindg.)
  • Findings: Language and math skills were not a function of age.
  • (Spitzer, 1995)
  • Study Description: Compared referrals to special programs by age.
  • Findings: Younger children qualified for gifted programs at the same rate as older children.
  • (DeMeis, 1992)
  • Curricular
  • Personal
  • Social Policy
360 000


Held Out Each Year