Kindergarten Entrance Age and Children's Achievement: Impacts of State Policies, Family Background, and Peers

53 Pages Posted: 17 Jul 2006

See all articles by Todd E. Elder

Todd E. Elder

Michigan State University

Darren H. Lubotsky

University of Illinois at Chicago

Date Written: June 2006

Abstract

Using data from two cohorts of students, we present evidence that children who are relatively old when they enter kindergarten score higher on achievement tests and are less likely to repeat grades or suffer from learning disabilities than their younger classmates. These differences are driven by the accumulation of skill prior to school entry. The test score effects appear during the first few months of kindergarten, before much learning has taken place in school, and are especially pronounced among children from upper-income families. We do not find that the relationship between entrance age and outcomes reflects a heightened ability to learn or greater physical maturity among older children, the most common interpretations of the entrance age effect. The evidence also shows that having older classmates improves a child's test scores but increases the probability of grade repetition and learning disability diagnoses.

Keywords: Kindergarten, school enrollment, human capital, grade retention, learning disabilities

JEL Classification: I10, I21, J13, J24

Suggested Citation

Elder, Todd E. and Lubotsky, Darren H., Kindergarten Entrance Age and Children's Achievement: Impacts of State Policies, Family Background, and Peers (June 2006). Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=916533 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.916533

Todd E. Elder

Michigan State University ( email )

110 Marshall-Adams Hall
Department of Economics
East Lansing, MI 48824
United States
517-355-0353 (Phone)

Darren H. Lubotsky (Contact Author)

University of Illinois at Chicago ( email )

University Hall Room 724
Chicago, IL 60607
United States

HOME PAGE: http://lubotsky.people.uic.edu/

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