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Disabled or Young? Relative Age and Special Education Diagnoses in Schools

  • Dhuey, Elizabeth
  • Lipscomb, Stephen

This study extends recent findings of a relationship between the relative age of students among their peers and their probability of disability classification. Using three nationally representative surveys spanning 1988-2004 and grades K-10, we find that an additional month of relative age decreases the likelihood of receiving special education services by 2-5 percent. Relative age effects are strong for learning disabilities but not for other disabilities. We measure them for boys starting in kindergarten but not for girls until 3rd grade. We also measure them for white and Hispanic students but not for black students or differentially by socioeconomic quartiles. Results are consistent with the interpretation that disability assessments do not screen for the possibility that relatively young students are over-referred for evaluation. Lastly, we present suggestive evidence that math achievement gains due to disability classification may differentially benefit relatively young students.

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File URL: http://www.clsrn.econ.ubc.ca/workingpapers/CLSRN%20Working%20Paper%20no.%2055%20-%20Dhuey%20and%20Lipscomb.pdf
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Paper provided by Vancouver School of Economics in its series CLSSRN working papers with number clsrn_admin-2010-7.

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Length: 34 pages
Date of creation: 27 Feb 2010
Date of revision: 27 Feb 2010
Handle: RePEc:ubc:clssrn:clsrn_admin-2010-7
Contact details of provider: Web page: http://www.clsrn.econ.ubc.ca/

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  7. Jason Fletcher, 2010. "Spillover effects of inclusion of classmates with emotional problems on test scores in early elementary school," Journal of Policy Analysis and Management, John Wiley & Sons, Ltd., vol. 29(1), pages 69-83.
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  12. 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).
  13. Sally Kwak, 2010. "The Impact of Intergovernmental Incentives on Student Disability Rates," Public Finance Review, , vol. 38(1), pages 41-73, January.
  14. Kelly Bedard & Elizabeth Dhuey, 2012. "School-Entry Policies and Skill Accumulation Across Directly and Indirectly Affected Individuals," Journal of Human Resources, University of Wisconsin Press, vol. 47(3), pages 643-683.
  15. Fredriksson, Peter & Öckert, Björn, 2006. "Is early learning really more productive? The effect of school starting age on school and labor market performance," Working Paper Series 2006:12, IFAU - Institute for Evaluation of Labour Market and Education Policy.
  16. 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.
  17. Dhuey, Elizabeth & Lipscomb, Stephen, 2008. "What makes a leader? Relative age and high school leadership," Economics of Education Review, Elsevier, vol. 27(2), pages 173-183, April.
  18. Elizabeth Cascio & Diane Whitmore Schanzenbach, 2007. "First in the Class? Age and the Education Production Function," NBER Working Papers 13663, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  19. Corman, Hope & Chaikind, Stephen, 1998. "The effect of low birthweight on the school performance and behavior of school-aged children," Economics of Education Review, Elsevier, vol. 17(3), pages 307-316, June.
  20. Fertig, Michael & Kluve, Jochen, 2005. "The Effect of Age at School Entry on Educational Attainment in Germany," IZA Discussion Papers 1507, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  21. Dobkin, Carlos & Ferreira, Fernando, 2010. "Do school entry laws affect educational attainment and labor market outcomes?," Economics of Education Review, Elsevier, vol. 29(1), pages 40-54, February.
  22. Eric A. Hanushek & John F. Kain & Steven G. Rivkin, 2002. "Inferring Program Effects for Special Populations: Does Special Education Raise Achievement for Students with Disabilities?," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 84(4), pages 584-599, November.
  23. David N. Figlio & Lawrence S. Getzler, 2002. "Accountability , Ability and Disability: Gaming the System," NBER Working Papers 9307, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
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