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posted by CoolHand on Monday September 11, @09:08PM   Printer-friendly
from the we-finally-have-an-excuse dept.

Submitted via IRC for Bytram

It's been known for years that the oldest children in class perform better in school than their youngest classmates. But according to a new study co-authored by University of Toronto Scarborough economist Elizabeth Dhuey, that gap can persist, with older children more likely to attend post-secondary school and graduate from an elite university.

"Older children, in this case those born in early September, do better in elementary school than their younger peers," says Dhuey, whose past research has explored this phenomenon.

"What we found in this study is that gap persists throughout their school careers, so they end up being more likely to attend a post-secondary school and graduate from an elite university."

The study, by Dhuey, an associate professor of economics, and a team of three economists from U.S.-based universities, was published by the National Bureau of Economic Research. It followed differences between Florida children born just before and after the Sept. 1 cut-off date to start kindergarten. (In Ontario, the cut-off date to start kindergarten is Jan. 1.)

precocious kids need not apply

Source: https://phys.org/news/2017-09-oldest-kids-class-university.html

Reference: Elizabeth Dhuey et al. School Starting Age and Cognitive Development, (2017). DOI: 10.3386/w23660[PDF]


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  • (Score: -1, Spam) by Anonymous Coward on Monday September 11, @09:09PM (3 children)

    by Anonymous Coward on Monday September 11, @09:09PM (#566393)

    These here Dick Niggers.

    We never fuck the oldest pussy.

    We too busy fucking all them young pussy.

    Dick Niggers gonna give this nigger dick you so long you ain't have no time for study.

    • (Score: 1, Offtopic) by Snow on Monday September 11, @10:01PM (2 children)

      by Snow (1601) on Monday September 11, @10:01PM (#566429) Journal

      I admire your dedication, but don't you have anything better to do?

      • (Score: 1, Offtopic) by krishnoid on Monday September 11, @10:07PM

        by krishnoid (1156) on Monday September 11, @10:07PM (#566432)

        Didn't you read the posting? He's too busy to do other things.

      • (Score: 1, Touché) by Anonymous Coward on Monday September 11, @10:35PM

        by Anonymous Coward on Monday September 11, @10:35PM (#566444)

        Nah, he was the youngest kid in the class.

  • (Score: -1, Troll) by Anonymous Coward on Monday September 11, @09:26PM

    by Anonymous Coward on Monday September 11, @09:26PM (#566406)

    Don't ever listen to the old and wise
    You know they lie 'cause they move their mouth
    Teaching their wrong and right

    What I'm about to say is gonna sound strange
    So, so strange

    My secret lover is a 108

  • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Monday September 11, @10:11PM (4 children)

    by Anonymous Coward on Monday September 11, @10:11PM (#566435)

    So what if you delay school another year (and get more time to learn on your own before being "plugged in"), would you be even smarter?

    • (Score: 2) by aclarke on Tuesday September 12, @12:54AM (1 child)

      by aclarke (2049) Subscriber Badge on Tuesday September 12, @12:54AM (#566490) Homepage

      Interesting question. It's one we grappled with a bit here in Ontario. My kids are both born very early in the year (yay them), but a family member's child was born right at the end of December. I suggested they just hold him back a year, but got a look of confusion in return from the parents they're the sorts who are going to follow authority. The schools here very much discourage that sort of thing. That being said, another friend did just that. His son was born in December and he pushed the issue and he's now in the grade behind where the Board of Education wanted to place him.

      My first thought on reading this article was confusion about a University of Toronto professor saying students born in September will do better as they're older. I guess that's an American thing, as pointed out at the end of TFS. In Ontario, land of U of T, the cutoff is December 31 / January 1.

      • (Score: 2) by kazzie on Tuesday September 12, @07:43AM

        by kazzie (5309) Subscriber Badge on Tuesday September 12, @07:43AM (#566594)

        September is the cut-off in the UK, as well.

    • (Score: 2) by TheRaven on Tuesday September 12, @07:28AM (1 child)

      by TheRaven (270) on Tuesday September 12, @07:28AM (#566583) Journal
      Alternatively: People are learning before they go to school. The ones that arrive with a 10-month head start over others don't lose it. I'd be interested to see how this advantage correlates with socioeconomic index, because I'd imagine that richer parents spend more time with their children doing things that give them an advantage when they start school. I was one of the youngest in my class, but I started to read when I was 3 and do basic arithmetic (add, subtract, multiply, and divide) by the time I was 5. A lot of children at the school where my mother taught in a poorer area started school aged 5 expecting to start learning these things then.
      --
      sudo mod me up
      • (Score: 2, Informative) by shrewdsheep on Tuesday September 12, @10:49AM

        by shrewdsheep (5215) on Tuesday September 12, @10:49AM (#566670)

        Hm,... might this be post-hoc theorizing? My first reaction was to challenge the study. This question pops up from time to time and IIRC the long-term effect has been debunked in the past. TLDR, so I cannot judge the quality of the study, but to follow children to adulthood is extremely challenging and the data is subject to all of confounding, selection bias, and measurement error, implying that unless properly taken into account, study results could but reflect those phenomena.

  • (Score: 3, Insightful) by Anonymous Coward on Monday September 11, @10:43PM (3 children)

    by Anonymous Coward on Monday September 11, @10:43PM (#566449)

    The real question is whether this is the result of being the oldest in the class, or being more ready to learn, or being born in the fall. We need a comparison of entire schools that start kids at older and younger ages, to see which works better. Another interesting study would be to start school at the end of February, so that the kids born in February are the oldest in the classes. Does the advantage shift to the February kids?

    A year is a long time when you are five years old. Schools should be structured so that kids can start in any quarter.

    • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Monday September 11, @11:09PM

      by Anonymous Coward on Monday September 11, @11:09PM (#566461)

      The real question is whether this is the result of being the oldest in the class, or being more ready to learn, or being born in the fall.

      Rather, being more ready to rote memorize information and spew it back on tests and homework assignments. Almost no comprehension necessary. School systems around the world (including the US, of course) are a disaster and are often much better at producing drones than truly educating anyone beyond the most basic level. This type of 'education' barely qualifies as education but is a lot easier to do on a massive scale, which is most likely why it's used.

    • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday September 12, @01:33AM (1 child)

      by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday September 12, @01:33AM (#566497)

      I don't buy it. I know two siblings who were born on the same day (several years apart) and one eventually graduated college while the other, sadly, had a horrible time with school and eventually committed suicide. There are far too many non-school variables to consider.

      • (Score: 3, Funny) by frojack on Tuesday September 12, @02:40AM

        by frojack (1554) Subscriber Badge on Tuesday September 12, @02:40AM (#566513) Journal

        Seriously, you point out TWO kids to dismiss a state wide study?

        --
        No, you are mistaken. I've always had this sig.
  • (Score: 2) by looorg on Monday September 11, @10:58PM (3 children)

    by looorg (578) on Monday September 11, @10:58PM (#566459)

    This as noted is not exactly new knowledge. It's been known for quite sometime that there is a difference between winter and summer babies. Most of it has been chalk down to the amount of potential sunlight and changes in diet depending on the seasons. Seems food allergies and asthma are more common in winter babies. While summer babies are more likely to be short sighted.

    "What we found in this study is that gap persists throughout their school careers, so they end up being more likely to attend a post-secondary school and graduate from an elite university."

    When it comes to being good in school it has always just been chalked up to age. Babies born in the winter and autumn have an age advantage over children born in the spring and summer. It all comes down to the school year starting in the autumn. So if you are born in August and school starts in September and you'll be a lot younger then someone that was born in say September or October. Which has then had, almost, a full year of growing up, gathering experiences and learning things.

    Previous studies have concluded that it evens out over time and there isn't really a lot of difference in the end. A low single digit percentage here or there will probably not be very explanatory. There is most likely other factors beyond age that are better predictors. But if this studies concludes that the gap persists then that would or could change knowledge, more studies needed. That said tho it doesn't sound all that odd -- if the winter babies have a head start why would they slow down and let the summer babies catch up? It's not like they are going into hibernation. Not exactly sure what the solution would be, mandatory breeding periods so all babies become winter babies? Just so they'll potentially do good in school?

    But overall I recon the most important thing said in the article was "It's important to remember these are on-average statistics". So I guess stupid just doesn't know a season but is evenly spread about the whole year. But mostly I found the term "redshirted" to be amusing, like they are all doomed to die on an away mission while serving on the Enterprise.

    • (Score: 3, Informative) by Arik on Monday September 11, @11:28PM (1 child)

      by Arik (4543) on Monday September 11, @11:28PM (#566466)
      This isn't new at all, this is a very old phenomena that was noticed decades ago!

      I know because it was an issue that was discussed when I started school, as I was younger than most of my classmates. Right at the beginning of the year we were told that it *might* be a problem and if it was I could be moved back a class with no hassle. As it turned out, within a couple weeks I was top of my class and that held for years, so they didn't do it, but it was certainly on their radar and I know other people that were moved, both up and down, for the best fit.
      --
      "Unix? These savages aren't even circumcised!"
      • (Score: 1, Interesting) by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday September 12, @12:17AM

        by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday September 12, @12:17AM (#566479)

        One of my kids had a November birthday, which was near the dividing point for our school system. I decided to make him the oldest in his class instead of the youngest; I thought this fit his personality better. When he reached the end of the seventh grade, he decided to skip ahead because most of his friends were a year older and leaving for high school. His high school career didn't seem to suffer from the change in age position. He remained a top student. He would have had algebra in the eighth grade, but got it as a freshman in high school instead. If he had stayed back, he would have had his high school science courses one academic year earlier, but it would have been at the same actual age.

    • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Monday September 11, @11:45PM

      by Anonymous Coward on Monday September 11, @11:45PM (#566472)

      More likely it's simply a matter of the higher standards put on older students. Getting into gifted programs is trivially easy if you've got a summer birthday and virtually impossible if you've got a fall one because they lower the standards for summer birthdays.

      This whole thing makes little sense because you don't really know who is and isn't gifted until at least age 8. By which point the actual age difference has shrunk substantially.

      But by being a bit older you wind up with additional responsibility which translates into other things. And you hit milestones at different points in the year.

  • (Score: 2) by maxwell demon on Tuesday September 12, @07:44AM

    by maxwell demon (1608) Subscriber Badge on Tuesday September 12, @07:44AM (#566595) Journal

    in this case those born in early September,

    That gives a wholly new meaning to the term "Eternal September" :-)

    --
    The Tao of math: The numbers you can count are not the real numbers.
  • (Score: 2) by Snospar on Tuesday September 12, @08:38AM

    by Snospar (5366) Subscriber Badge on Tuesday September 12, @08:38AM (#566623)

    I think we can safely ignore this nonsense; it's written by economists and we all know they were the dumbest kids in class right from the start.

    Wonder how many other factors they ignored so they could focus solely on age?

  • (Score: 2) by PiMuNu on Tuesday September 12, @09:43AM

    by PiMuNu (3823) on Tuesday September 12, @09:43AM (#566649)

    > "Older children, in this case those born in early September, do better in elementary school than their younger peers," says Dhuey, whose past research has explored this phenomenon.

    Older children, in this case those born in early September, *on average* do better in elementary school than their younger peers. *But sometimes younger children do better*.

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