Identifying the drivers of month of birth differences in educational attainment
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 pupilsâ€™ 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 childâ€™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
|Date of creation:||May 2013|
|Date of revision:|
|Contact details of provider:|| Postal: |
Phone: (+44) 020 7291 4800
Fax: (+44) 020 7323 4780
Web page: http://www.ifs.org.ukEmail:
More information through EDIRC
|Order Information:|| Postal: The Institute for Fiscal Studies 7 Ridgmount Street LONDON WC1E 7AE|
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.:
- 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).
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- Sinn, Hans-Werner, 1980.
"A Rehabilitation of the Principle of Insufficient Reason,"
Munich Reprints in Economics
19914, University of Munich, Department of Economics.
- Sinn, Hans-Werner, 1980. "A Rehabilitation of the Principle of Insufficient Reason," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 94(3), pages 493-506, May.
- 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).
- Michela Ponzo & Vincenzo Scoppa, 2011.
"The Long-Lasting Effects Of School Entry Age: Evidence From Italian Students,"
201101, Università della Calabria, Dipartimento di Economia, Statistica e Finanza (Ex Dipartimento di Economia e Statistica).
- 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.
- Datar, Ashlesha, 2006. "Does delaying kindergarten entrance give children a head start?," Economics of Education Review, Elsevier, vol. 25(1), pages 43-62, February.
- Hendrik Jürges & Kerstin Schneider, 2007.
"What can go wrong will go wrong: Birthday effects and early tracking in the German school system,"
MEA discussion paper series
07138, Munich Center for the Economics of Aging (MEA) at the Max Planck Institute for Social Law and Social Policy.
- 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.
- Dionissi Aliprantis, 2012. "When should children start school?," Working Paper 1126, Federal Reserve Bank of Cleveland.
- 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.
- 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.
- Sandra E. Black & Paul J. Devereux & Kjell G. Salvanes, 2008.
"Too Young to Leave the Nest: The Effects of School Starting Age,"
NBER Working Papers
13969, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
- Sandra E. Black & Paul J. Devereux & Kjell G. Salvanes, 2011. "Too Young to Leave the Nest? The Effects of School Starting Age," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 93(2), pages 455-467, May.
- 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).
- Patrick Puhani & Andrea Weber, 2007. "Does the early bird catch the worm?," Empirical Economics, Springer, vol. 32(2), pages 359-386, May.
- 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).
- 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.
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 references are entirely missing, you can add them using this form.