The Impact Of Relative Age Effects Educational Attainments

1436 words - 6 pages

"Discuss the impact of relative-age effects on educational attainments”

Relative age initially stems from how we’ve chosen to group adolescence into groups (grades or year) in school and to decide their suitability for sports teams. For example Northern Ireland is the only European country whose compulsory school starting age is four years old, the youngest starting age in Europe. Closely followed at age five by their neighbours England, Scotland and Wales. The Republic of Ireland however has a later school start age of six years old like many other European countries. The latest start is at age seven, which is when compulsory education is introduced in some Scandinavian and Eastern European countries (Sharpe, 2002). Many countries within Europe have a pre-school system in which the majority of children attend, other countries allow some children to register and start school before they are at the required age but it also depends on the results of pre-school assessments, in some cases, school starting age represents the maxim age by which a child can start school but most of the children attend school before compulsory school age.
Many studies have been conducted into looking at age effects and birthdates. Hutchison and Sharp (1999) considered the persistence of season of birth effects in a study of over 5,500 pupils. The purpose was to consider whether age-related differences were large enough to be educationally significant, and to see whether the differences lessened as children matured. The results of the study showed that autumn-borns achieved significantly better scores than summer-borns and birthdate differences persist throughout the primary school years. A study carried out by the Institute for Fiscal Studies, the study looked at the test scores and happiness levels of August-born children, linked with their older, September-born cohorts. The study found that children born in August scored notably lower in national achievement tests and other procedures of cognitive skills. At the age of seven, children are more than three times as likely to be thought of as "below average" by their teachers in reading, writing and math’s. Greaves, (2011) says there is a general consensus that the oldest in the year do better than their younger cohorts, and while the gap shrinks over time, it can continue through to GCSEs and have a long-lasting effect on employment opportunities. The IFS research found that August born children were 20% more likely to attend a higher standard of university than September-born kids. Bedard & Dhuey, (2006), provided evidence that maturity differences have a long lasting effect on student’s performance across a number OECD countries. A study conducted in 2010 by the Higher Education Policy Institute found 28% of August-born children went to university compared with 32% of those born in September over a six-year period. One study found that reasonably older children were up to 11 per cent more likely to occupy leadership...

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