Delaying kindergarten entry for a year — aka “redshirting” — doesn’t help kids much in the long run, writes Michael Hansen, a Brookings researcher and father of a boy who’s turning five this summer.
An estimated 3.5 to 5.5 percent of kids eligible for kindergarten — usually boys born in the summer months — are held back each year. Affluent whites, who can afford another year of preschool, are the most likely to redshirt.
Malcolm Gladwell’s Outliers popularized the idea that older students have an advantage, but follow-up research studies have found “negligible” benefits, writes Hansen. “The testing advantage for being the oldest tends to diminish with time.”