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  • Writer's pictureJoanne Jacobs

Redshirting may do more harm than good

“Redshirting” five-year-olds may do more harm than good, concludes a study published in Education Next.

The academic advantages of being older disappear by high school, write Diane Schanzenbach, a Northwestern education professor, and Stephanie Larson, director of Rose Hall Montessori School in Wilmette, Illinois. “Redshirted children can be educationally and socially harmed by being with others who are performing and behaving at lower developmental levels.”

Younger students gain an advantage by learning from and competing with older students, who tend to be higher achieving and better behaved, the authors conclude.

College graduates are twice as likely to redshirt their children as less-educated parents.

A few weeks ago, in Kindergarten can wait, I posted on a Stanford study that supported redshirting. “Delaying kindergarten for one year reduced inattention and hyperactivity by 73 percent for an average child at age 11,” reported co-author Thomas Dee, a Stanford education professor.

The ability to sit still and pay attention correlates with academic achievement.

The Ed Next study argues those advantages, visible at age 11, are gone by high school.

What’s a parent to do? Use your judgment.

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