Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)

Legacy Department

Curriculum and Instruction


Fisk, Bill


The purpose of this study was to examine the associations between age at school entry and academic performance in kindergarten through the fifth grade. The study utilized the Early Childhood Longitudinal Study, Kindergarten Class of 1998-1999 (ECLS-K) dataset that includes a nationally representative sample that was collected over a six year period and compiled by the National Center for Educational Statistics (NCES).
Even when controlling for the variables of gender, race, socioeconomic status, and disability, the analyses revealed that the youngest students did not perform as well in reading and math as their school entry peers through the fifth grade. A separate analysis indicated that the youngest students were also less likely than their school entry peers to be in the expected grade (fifth) during the fifth grade collection.
The findings are strengthened because the youngest students in the study were found to not be 'at-risk' in other identified areas (gender, socioeconomic status, parents' education level). Although the youngest group did not have the identified 'at-risk' characteristics, they still performed less well than their school entry peers in both reading and math.
Based on the research findings of this study, implications for policy, curriculum, and assessment are discussed.