Advanced Search
MyIDEAS: Login

Identifying the drivers of month of birth differences in educational attainment

Contents:

Author Info

  • Claire Crawford

    ()
    (Institute for Fiscal Studies)

  • Lorraine Dearden

    ()
    (Institute for Fiscal Studies and Bedford Group, Institute of Education, University of London)

  • Ellen Greaves

    ()
    (Institute for Fiscal Studies)

Registered author(s):

    Abstract

    Children born at the end of the academic year have lower educational attainment, on average, than those born at the start of the academic year. Previous research shows that the difference is most pronounced early in pupils’ school lives, but remains evident and statistically significant in high-stakes exams taken at the end of compulsory schooling. To determine the most appropriate policy response, it is vital to understand which of the four possible factors (age at test, age of starting school, length of schooling and relative age without cohort) lead to these differences in attainment between those born at different points in the academic year. However, research to date has been unable to adequately address this problem, as the four potential drivers are all highly correlated with one another, and three of the four form an exact linear relationship (age at test = age of starting school + length of schooling). This paper is the first to apply the principle of maximum entropy to this problem. Using two complementary sources of data we find that a child’s age at the time they take the test is the most important driver of the differences observed, which suggests that age-adjusting national achievement test scores is likely to be the most appropriate policy response to ensure that children born towards the end of the year are not at a disadvantage simply because they are younger when they take their exams. This working paper is supplemented by an online appendix which can be viewed here

    Download Info

    If you experience problems downloading a file, check if you have the proper application to view it first. In case of further problems read the IDEAS help page. Note that these files are not on the IDEAS site. Please be patient as the files may be large.
    File URL: http://www.ifs.org.uk/wps/wp201309.pdf
    Download Restriction: no

    Bibliographic Info

    Paper provided by Institute for Fiscal Studies in its series IFS Working Papers with number W13/09.

    as in new window
    Length:
    Date of creation: May 2013
    Date of revision:
    Handle: RePEc:ifs:ifsewp:13/09

    Contact details of provider:
    Postal: The Institute for Fiscal Studies 7 Ridgmount Street LONDON WC1E 7AE
    Phone: (+44) 020 7291 4800
    Fax: (+44) 020 7323 4780
    Email:
    Web page: http://www.ifs.org.uk
    More information through EDIRC

    Order Information:
    Postal: The Institute for Fiscal Studies 7 Ridgmount Street LONDON WC1E 7AE
    Email:

    Related research

    Keywords: Age-period-cohort problem; maximum entropy; month of birth; relative age; educational attainment;

    Find related papers by JEL classification:

    This paper has been announced in the following NEP Reports:

    References

    References listed on IDEAS
    Please report citation or reference errors to , or , if you are the registered author of the cited work, log in to your RePEc Author Service profile, click on "citations" and make appropriate adjustments.:
    as in new window
    1. Ponzo, Michela & Scoppa, Vincenzo, 2014. "The long-lasting effects of school entry age: Evidence from Italian students," Journal of Policy Modeling, Elsevier, vol. 36(3), pages 578-599.
    2. Sinn, Hans-Werner, 1980. "A Rehabilitation of the Principle of Insufficient Reason," Munich Reprints in Economics 19914, University of Munich, Department of Economics.
    3. Robertson, Erin, 2011. "The effects of quarter of birth on academic outcomes at the elementary school level," Economics of Education Review, Elsevier, vol. 30(2), pages 300-311, April.
    4. Datar, Ashlesha, 2006. "Does delaying kindergarten entrance give children a head start?," Economics of Education Review, Elsevier, vol. 25(1), pages 43-62, February.
    5. Maresa Sprietsma, 2010. "Effect of relative age in the first grade of primary school on long-term scholastic results: international comparative evidence using PISA 2003," Education Economics, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 18(1), pages 1-32.
    6. Martin Browning & Ian Crawford & Marike Knoef, 2012. "The age-period cohort problem: set identification and point identification," CeMMAP working papers CWP02/12, Centre for Microdata Methods and Practice, Institute for Fiscal Studies.
    7. Justin Smith, 2010. "How Valuable Is the Gift of Time? The Factors That Drive the Birth Date Effect in Education," Education Finance and Policy, MIT Press, vol. 5(3), pages 247-277, July.
    8. Kawaguchi, Daiji, 2011. "Actual age at school entry, educational outcomes, and earnings," Journal of the Japanese and International Economies, Elsevier, vol. 25(2), pages 64-80, June.
    9. Hendrik Jürges & Kerstin Schneider, 2007. "What Can Go Wrong Will Go Wrong: Birthday Effects and Early Tracking in the German School System," CESifo Working Paper Series 2055, CESifo Group Munich.
    10. Andrea M. Mühlenweg & Patrick A. Puhani, 2010. "The Evolution of the School-Entry Age Effect in a School Tracking System," Journal of Human Resources, University of Wisconsin Press, vol. 45(2).
    11. Todd E. Elder & Darren H. Lubotsky, 2009. "Kindergarten Entrance Age and Children’s Achievement: Impacts of State Policies, Family Background, and Peers," Journal of Human Resources, University of Wisconsin Press, vol. 44(3).
    12. Patrick J. McEwan & Joseph S. Shapiro, 2008. "The Benefits of Delayed Primary School Enrollment: Discontinuity Estimates Using Exact Birth Dates," Journal of Human Resources, University of Wisconsin Press, vol. 43(1).
    13. Black, Sandra E. & Devereux, Paul J. & Salvanes, Kjell G., 2008. "Too Young to Leave the Nest? The Effects of School Starting Age," IZA Discussion Papers 3452, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
    14. Kelly Bedard & Elizabeth Dhuey, 2006. "The Persistence of Early Childhood Maturity: International Evidence of Long-Run Age Effects," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 121(4), pages 1437-1472, November.
    15. Smith Justin, 2009. "Can Regression Discontinuity Help Answer an Age-Old Question in Education? The Effect of Age on Elementary and Secondary School Achievement," The B.E. Journal of Economic Analysis & Policy, De Gruyter, vol. 9(1), pages 1-30, November.
    16. Dionissi Aliprantis, 2012. "When should children start school?," Working Paper 1126, Federal Reserve Bank of Cleveland.
    Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)

    Citations

    Lists

    This item is not listed on Wikipedia, on a reading list or among the top items on IDEAS.

    Statistics

    Access and download statistics

    Corrections

    When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:ifs:ifsewp:13/09. See general information about how to correct material in RePEc.

    For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: (Stephanie Seavers).

    If you have authored this item and are not yet registered with RePEc, we encourage you to do it here. This allows to link your profile to this item. It also allows you to accept potential citations to this item that we are uncertain about.

    If references are entirely missing, you can add them using this form.

    If the full references list an item that is present in RePEc, but the system did not link to it, you can help with this form.

    If you know of missing items citing this one, you can help us creating those links by adding the relevant references in the same way as above, for each refering item. If you are a registered author of this item, you may also want to check the "citations" tab in your profile, as there may be some citations waiting for confirmation.

    Please note that corrections may take a couple of weeks to filter through the various RePEc services.