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Shrinking classroom age variance raises student achievement : evidence from developing countries


  • Wang, Liang Choon


Large classroom variance of student age is prevalent in developing countries, where achievement tends to be low. This paper investigates whether increased classroom age variance adversely affects mathematics and science achievement. Using exogenous variation in the variance of student age in ability-mixing schools, the author finds robust negative effects of classroom age variance on fourth graders'achievement in developing countries. A simulation demonstrates that re-grouping students by age in the sample can improve math and science test scores by roughly 0.1 standard deviations. According to past estimates for the United States, this effect size is similar to that of raising expenditures per student by 26 percent.

Suggested Citation

  • Wang, Liang Choon, 2011. "Shrinking classroom age variance raises student achievement : evidence from developing countries," Policy Research Working Paper Series 5527, The World Bank.
  • Handle: RePEc:wbk:wbrwps:5527

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Elizabeth U. Cascio & Diane Whitmore Schanzenbach, 2016. "First in the Class? Age and the Education Production Function," Education Finance and Policy, MIT Press, vol. 11(3), pages 225-250, Summer.
    2. 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.
    3. Esther Duflo & Pascaline Dupas & Michael Kremer, 2011. "Peer Effects, Teacher Incentives, and the Impact of Tracking: Evidence from a Randomized Evaluation in Kenya," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 101(5), pages 1739-1774, August.
    4. Kelly Bedard & Elizabeth Dhuey, 2006. "The Persistence of Early Childhood Maturity: International Evidence of Long-Run Age Effects," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 121(4), pages 1437-1472.
    5. 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).
    6. Datar, Ashlesha, 2006. "Does delaying kindergarten entrance give children a head start?," Economics of Education Review, Elsevier, vol. 25(1), pages 43-62, February.
    7. Joshua D. Angrist & Victor Lavy, 1999. "Using Maimonides' Rule to Estimate the Effect of Class Size on Scholastic Achievement," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 114(2), pages 533-575.
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    Cited by:

    1. Delprato, Marcos & Akyeampong, Kwame & Dunne, Máiréad, 2017. "Intergenerational Education Effects of Early Marriage in Sub-Saharan Africa," World Development, Elsevier, vol. 91(C), pages 173-192.

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    Tertiary Education; Educational Sciences; Youth and Governance; Secondary Education; Scientific Research&Science Parks;

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