Saturday, March 6, 2010

Kindergarten entrance age

I've just been reading Tim Fitzharris's CDPI Information Bulletin.
The LAO is also recommending a change in the age of Kindergarten entrance, beginning in the 2011-12 school year. Research suggests children who are older when they start kindergarten tend to perform better on standardized tests. Some research suggests this change also may lead to other positive student outcomes, including less chance of grade retention and higher earnings as an adult.
Of course, they do better on standardized tests. They're a year older! This is like the parents in Texas who keep their kids back in Kindergarten so they will be a year older in middle school and high school, so they can excel in football, except the LAO wants to keep all the kids of a certain age back so they will be older and do better when they take a certain type of test.

Kids vary. Some are completely ready for kindergarten at 4, and some are barely ready by 6. Myself, I'd like to see the age-date limit of December 2 pushed back to the first of March, as it was when I started kindergarten. Not all kids of that age are ready, maybe not even most, but some are, and the parents (in conjunction with the preschool teacher, and even with the kindergarten teacher, if need be) should be able to tell if a kid born between September 1 and March 1 is ready to enter kindergarten.

 And it is mildly annoying that standardized tests are the measure of success in schools. I know we have to use generated data, and there are times I defend them, but I still don't like the way they are used in schools. And don't even get me started about AP classes.


  1. "Mildly annoying" ... I'm more in the "bats--t infuriating" category on standardized tests. Some of us can remember taking the "state tests" in the '50s and early '60s...and how, if you were sitting next to a cute boy, or if your mom had made you cry before you left for school...forget about it. I was one of those students who was so pampered by the teachers that they would make allowances if I didn't perform at the top, so I didn't suffer as much as most of the other kids in my class when it came to "immature behavior" (i.e., acting like a child when you are a child) and standardized test scores. (In high school, the career preference test was held, one year, the day of the Junior Prom...the whole class fell into the lucky-to-be-breaking-up-rocks career path.)
    Can you direct me to a longitudinal study that proves test scores are an indication of "success" (happy adaption) in adult life?

  2. Not directly. There are studies that show a relationship between some tests and grades in school, and I'll bet there are some that show that people who get good grades end up with better jobs on average than people who get terrible grades, but if happiness is the measure, then no. I can't.

    Which is unrelated to the fact that I love standardized tests; I just don't trust them as a mass evaluation tool. I loved taking them in school, probably because I always knocked the top off of them, which was my only claim to fame. I couldn't compete with the other kids for looks, or clothes, or sexiness, or sports ability, or singing, or drawing, but I was smart as hell and could write rings around them.