Think holding back your kindergartner a year will give him an edge? Think again

“Redshirting” five-year-olds may do more harm than good, concludes a study published in Education Next.

The academic advantages of being older disappear by high school, write Diane Schanzenbach, a Northwestern education professor, and Stephanie Larson, director of Rose Hall Montessori School in Wilmette, Illinois. “Redshirted children can be educationally and socially harmed by being with others who are performing and behaving at lower developmental levels.”

Younger students gain an advantage by learning from and competing with older students, who tend to be higher achieving and better behaved, the authors conclude.

College graduates are twice as likely to redshirt their children as less-educated parents.

A few weeks ago, in Kindergarten can wait, I posted on a Stanford study that supported redshirting. “Delaying kindergarten for one year reduced inattention and hyperactivity by 73 percent for an average child at age 11,” reported co-author Thomas Dee, a Stanford education professor.

The ability to sit still and pay attention correlates with academic achievement.

The Ed Next study argues those advantages, visible at age 11, are gone by high school.

What’s a parent to do? Use your judgment.

 

This originally appeared on joannejacobs.com

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Joanne Jacobs

Joanne Jacobs

Joanne was born in Chicago and named after her grandfather, Joe Jacobs, who’d been a police reporter for the Omaha Bee-News. At the age of eight, she and her best friend became the creators and co-editors-in-chief of "The Wednesday Report" for four years. After years as a San Jose Mercury News columnist, Joanne started an education blog in 2001 and wrote "Our School: The Inspiring Story of Two Teachers, One Big Idea and the Charter School That Beat the Odds." She freelances for online sites, newspapers, magazines, foundations and think tanks. In addition to blogging at joannejacobs.com, Joanne writes Community College Spotlight at ccspotlight.org.

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