Monday, August 25, 2008

Clearly I have a Bias

I want this to be true, that starting your children later for kindergarten does not give them an advantage over their peers later in life. I would like to show this to the administrators at the school who decided that three days past the deadline makes a difference, keeping my nearly 5-year-old from being in kindergarten.

The researchers state:

Though older students have an early edge based on an extra year of skill development, the study maintains that older and younger students learn at the same pace once they enter school, based on a review of federal education data.

The study found, for example, that older kindergartners scored 24 percentage points higher than younger peers on standardized reading tests, but the gap narrowed to less than 4 percentage points by eighth grade.

“Kids learn at lot before kindergarten, especially if they’re in preschool. One way to think about it is that the oldest kid in kindergarten has about 20 percent more life experience,” Lubotsky said. “But once they start, they basically learn at the same rate.”

Of course, parents should also base their decisions on their child's behavior and social development.

Lubotsky says parents still need to weigh children’s needs and consider holding them back if they are immature, can’t sit still in class or have other issues that could affect learning. But he says the study’s bottom line is that kids are generally best served by starting school as early as possible.

In a perfect world, which we know doesn't happen in most schools, each child would be evaluated on their own abilities and not their age.


jmb said...

It's tough missing the deadline by such a small margin. My daughter made the deadline by 21 days but she had a tough time for quite a few years, being the youngest in the class.

My granddaughter is off to kindergarten this Fall, well within the deadline but she has been reading for about a year. I would hate to be a kindergarten teacher dealing with children today as it seems half of them can already read and the other half can't. Plus they don't even teach reading until first grade, unless things have changed.

I've been a poor commenter too, but read everything in my reader. I wanted to pop over and comment on the post below but got sidetracked. I'm sure it was an exhilarating experience at the conference. A blog friend pitched her book at the Surrey Writer's Festival, near Vancouver, last year (she came all the way from Morocco to do it) and it was interesting to hear her experience. She is still writing away on the book.

That said I attended a round table talk with Michelle Richmond who wrote Year of Fog, in Second Life no less, and she said she found her current agent at a Writer's festival and she published her first two books without an agent.

Even if your first ones don't get published you are learning so much in the process I am sure. But I am hoping that they do, of course.

Jen of A2eatwrite said...

This is one of my absolutely passion areas, Sarabeth. I taught in a school for gifted children for 10 years and my first M.A. had a concentration in Gifted and Creative education.

Holding maturationally-ready kids BACK is not good for them. I'd keep fighting your district. Most districts have a back-door clause, which will allow for some testing or whatever to "prove" that your child is kindergarten ready.

The whole business about their having an edge, etc., is nonsense - kids learn at different speeds and in any given year of age cohorts there will be a usual three-year spread in any case.

Grrrr.... sorry to hear about what you're going through.

BTW... I'm still chomping at the bit to read your novel, but we've been tossed some curve balls lately and I also have to finish The Song of Roland, the first half of Don Quixote and Their Eyes are Watching God by Septemeber 16th, so I'm kind of scrambling right now.

Sarabeth said...

Jen, my daughters attend a private school. I keep hounding them, but to no avail. My eldest is months past their age requirement, and while she possesses maturity, she's lazy when it comes to reading. Her level, 1st grade, suits her well. My middle one is book smart but lacks common sense, making her seem age matched. The school has a dedicated enrichment team to assist those students are excelling.

As for the novel, it's not going anywhere.