Kids who enter school at an older age perform better

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A new study shows a positive relationship between school starting age and children’s cognitive development. Moreover, being older increases college attainment and reduces the likelihood of incarceration for juvenile crime.

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A new study shows a positive relationship between school starting age and children’s cognitive development. Moreover, being older —the paper reveals— increases college attainment and reduces the likelihood of incarceration for juvenile crime.

Recent research has found that different maturity levels at an early stage can affect individuals throughout their life and may have implications for adult outcomes and productivity.

The study School Starting Age and Cognitive Development, published by the National Bureau of Economic Affairs, analyzed administrative data from the state of Florida. One of the key findings is that richer families tend to redshirt their children to give them an advantage.

“We observe different compensatory behaviors targeted towards children from different socioeconomic statuses who are youngest in their schooling cohort. While the more affluent families tend to redshirt their children to give them competitive advantage, families that are unable to do this - either due to lack of awareness or resources - are surrogated by the schooling system, which retains their children in grades prior to testing,” states the study.

It is also worth noting that the effects of redshirting are stable among different demographics.

“We find remarkable stability in the effects of school starting age across exceptionally different groups of people – despite differences in remediation strategies”.