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Investigating the Prevalence of Academic Redshirting Using Population-Level Data

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Investigating the Prevalence of Academic Redshirting Using Population-Level Data

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The practice of academic redshirting, or holding children back a year prior to their enrolling in kindergarten, continues to be a controversial practice. Although most studies investigating redshirting have used small statewide samples or older, nationally representative data sets, the current study uses population-level data from one state that spans several years. Findings indicate a downward trend in redshirting rates (3.5% in fall of 2012), and redshirted students were consistently more likely to be White boys who were not economically disadvantaged. Students with disabilities were also more likely to be redshirted. Of the redshirted students, the majority were born in the summer months (>70%). Rates have been stable and lower than previously reported national estimates, suggesting that the practice is not as widespread as feared.
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DOI: 10.1177/2332858415590800
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The controversial practice of academic redshirting, or hold-
ing age-eligible children back for a year prior to their enroll-
ing in kindergarten, continues to receive attention in the
popular press (e.g., Ashbrook, 2014; Bronson & Merryman,
2009; Gladwell, 2008; Gootman, 2006; Moyer, 2013; Paul,
2010; Safer, 2012; Wang & Aamodt, 2011; Weil, 2007) and
in academic journals (e.g., Bassok & Reardon, 2013; Datar,
2006; Mendez, Kim, Ferron, & Woods, 2014; Oshima &
Domaleski, 2006). To be eligible for kindergarten, most
states require children to be 5 years of age at a specified
cutoff date in the year that they are enrolling (Bush, 2010).
However, some parents of age-eligible children may opt to
hold their kids back for a year to allow the child more time
to mature prior to kindergarten entry.
Even though redshirting continues to be of keen interest
and concern for parents, teachers, administrators, and poli-
cymakers, there is a dearth of recent, large-scale empirical
data that have been used to investigate this practice. Worries
persist that academic redshirting may be on the rise as ele-
mentary schools become more academically demanding
(Dougan & Pijanowski, 2011). A newspaper editorial titled
“Redshirting’ Kindergarteners Getting Out of Hand” indi-
cated that “in the early 1990s, about 9% of kindergarteners
were redshirted . . . today, the percentage is double that”
(“Editorial,” 2011). Popular news programs, such as 60
Minutes and shows on Fox News, have indicated that “kin-
dergarten redshirting has more than tripled since the 1970s”
(Safer, 2012) and that redshirting is a “growing phenome-
non” (“Parents ‘Redshirting’ Kindergartners,” 2010).
Conventional media outlets such as the New York Times and
the Wall Street Journal have referred to the practice of red-
shirting as the new norm (Paul, 2010; Wallace, 2014).
However, such statements may be based on anecdotal evi-
dence, convenience samples with limited generalizability, or
endorsements provided by individual parents or teachers.
The current study makes use of a longitudinal, large-scale
database to track the prevalence of redshirting over time at
both the student and school levels.
Outcomes Related to Redshirting
Academic redshirting is very much a part of popular cul-
ture and is passed on by generations of individuals (Graue &
DiPerna, 2000). Even though the study of kindergarten entry
age of children and academic outcomes has spanned several
decades (e.g., Baer, 1958; Halliwell, 1966; Huang, 2014;
Langer, Kalk, & Searls, 1984; Spitzer, Cupp, & Parke, 1995;
Stipek, 2002), the practice of redshirting has received
renewed attention, possibly as schools have a greater focus
on ensuring that students meet academic, grade-level
requirements. The practice of redshirting is of practical sig-
nificance to various stakeholders. A few studies have dem-
onstrated some short-term benefits of academic redshirting
(Bedard & Dhuey, 2006; Datar, 2006), although the majority
of studies using either national data sets (e.g., Lincove &
Painter, 2006), experimental data (Cascio & Schazenbach,
2007), or quasiexperimental designs (Jaekel, Strauss,
Johnson, Gilmore, & Wolke, 2015) have shown no particular
Investigating the Prevalence of Academic Redshirting
Using Population-Level Data
Francis L. Huang
University of Missouri
The practice of academic redshirting, or holding children back a year prior to their enrolling in kindergarten, continues to
be a controversial practice. Although most studies investigating redshirting have used small statewide samples or older,
nationally representative data sets, the current study uses population-level data from one state that spans several years.
Findings indicate a downward trend in redshirting rates (3.5% in fall of 2012), and redshirted students were consistently more
likely to be White boys who were not economically disadvantaged. Students with disabilities were also more likely to be red-
shirted. Of the redshirted students, the majority were born in the summer months (>70%). Rates have been stable and lower
than previously reported national estimates, suggesting that the practice is not as widespread as feared.
Keywords: redshirting, delayed enrollment, big data, multilevel logistic regression
590800EROXXX10.1177/2332858415590800HuangRedshirting Prevalence Rates
research-article2015
Huang
2
lasting advantages for redshirted students. On the contrary,
researchers have found that redshirted students, compared to
on-time students, had a higher probability of being placed in
a special education program (Graue & DiPerna, 2000;
Mendez et al., 2014), had a higher prevalence of behavioral
problems and substance abuse (Byrd, Weitzman, & Auinger,
1997; Byrd, Weitzman, & Doniger, 1996; Guagliardo,
Huang, Hicks, & D’Angelo, 1998), were more likely to have
lower earnings as adults (Deming & Dynarski, 2008), or had
higher high school dropout rates (Angrist & Krueger, 1991).
Martin (2009) compared redshirted and on-time high school
students and indicated that old-for-grade students were more
disengaged, had lower homework completion rates, and per-
formed at lower levels academically compared to younger
students, who valued school more, had higher positive inten-
tions, and had better attendance rates.
Redshirting has several repercussions for the schools as
well. Teachers must accommodate for a wide range of matu-
rity and skills as a result of redshirting (Noel & Newman,
2003) and may adopt developmentally inappropriate teach-
ing practices as a result (Shepard & Smith, 1986). Redshirting
has been suggested as one of the factors for increasing the
academic demands in kindergarten, resulting in curriculum
escalation (Cosden, Zimmer, & Tuss, 1993; Shepard &
Smith, 1988). Increased pressure may be placed on parents to
redshirt as a result of concerns that their child may not be able
to cope with the increased demands of kindergarten (Stipek
& Byler, 2001). As more children are redshirted, parents may
begin to demand a more advanced curriculum (Meisels,
1992; Moyer, 2013), and a vicious cycle emerges. As a result,
kindergarten has often been referred to as “the new first
grade” (Deming & Dynarski, 2008; Paul, 2010; Tyre, 2006).
Variation in Redshirting Rates
In the United States, kindergarten entry age requirements
have increased, resulting primarily by state-driven legal
changes to school entry age requirements (Deming &
Dynarski, 2008). Redshirting studies that have used county,
state, or school division samples have yielded large levels of
variation. For example, Graue and DiPerna’s (2000) study
using a statewide sample in Wisconsin showed an average
redshirting rate of 7%, although district-level redshirting
rates varied from a low of 3% to a high of 94%. A study in a
single county in the San Francisco Bay Area between 1988
and 1991 showed that girls had a redshirting rate of 3.7%,
whereas boys had a much higher rate at 19.3% (Bellisimo,
Sacks, & Mergendoller, 1995). In a study, however, of three
school districts in Southern California, which had a
December cutoff date for kindergarten entry, Cosden et al.
(1993) reported relatively more modest redshirting rates of
10% to 11%. In Winsler et al.’s (2012) study of Miami-
Dade’s public school system in Florida with an at-risk sam-
ple of children, only 62 out of 13,191 (0.5%) students were
redshirted. Overall, evidence suggests that there is a large
amount of variation in redshirting rates that may be sample
and location specific, although trends cannot be gauged
without the use of data over several years.
Trends in National Redshirting Rates
Several nationally representative surveys have been used
over the past several decades to estimate the prevalence of
redshirting. Using data from the National Education
Longitudinal Study (NELS) of 1998, Lincove and Painter
(2006) estimated that redshirting rates in the late 1970s to be
approximately 9%. Byrd et al. (1997) analyzed data from the
1988 Child Health Supplement to the National Health
Interview Data and indicated that the prevalence of redshirt-
ing rates from the ’70s to the ’80s was on average 12% (range
10% to 14%). Years later, data from both the 1993 and 1995
National Household Education Surveys (NHES) showed that
9% of first and second graders were redshirted (Zill, Loomis,
& West, 1995). Using the Early Childhood Longitudinal
Study (ECLS)–Kindergarten Cohort of 1998–1999, Datar
(2006) stated that delayed entry rates ranged from 5% to 7%,
depending on the calculation method used and source of
information (e.g., parent or school reported). Based on an
analysis of the same data set, Bassok and Reardon (2013)
estimated redshirting rates of first-time public school kinder-
garteners to be 5.5%. Using the ECLS–Birth Cohort, Bassok
and Reardon reported lower redshirting rates in 2006 at 4%.
Based on the School Readiness Survey of the NHES in 2007,
O’Donnell (2008) reported that on average, 7% of parents
were planning to delay their child’s enrollment in kindergar-
ten. Finally and most recently, the ECLS Class of 2010–2011
data showed that 5.6% (or 5.9% if retained students are
excluded) of kindergarteners who attended public school
experienced delayed entry (Snyder & Dillow, 2013).
Generally, national redshirting rates have been declining.
Even though earlier studies have shown a large amount of
variability within states (e.g., Bellisimo et al., 1995; Cosden
et al., 1993; Graue & DiPerna, 2000), national-level multi-
variate analyses indicated that differences in redshirting rates
between regions (i.e., South, Midwest, West) were not statis-
tically significant (Bassok & Reardon, 2013), suggesting that
variability between states is not that large.
Factors Associated With Redshirting
At the student level, redshirted students were more likely to
be White boys with parents of higher levels of socioeconomic
backgrounds (Bassok & Reardon, 2013; NCES, 2013; Winsler
et al., 2012). Based on the NHES 2006–2007, 9% of White
parents and 8% of those living above the poverty threshold had
planned to redshirt their children (O’Donnell, 2008). This is in
contrast to the only 2% of Black parents and 3% of economi-
cally disadvantaged families who planned to delay
Redshirting Prevalence Rates
3
kindergarten entry. In addition, parents may also choose to
delay kindergarten entry for their children if they suspect that
their child has developmental problems (Jaekel et al., 2015).
Although several studies have presented student-level
profiles of redshirted students, virtually little is known about
the factors at the school level that may be associated with the
practice. One hypothesis is that student-level variables
aggregated to the school level may have an association with
the likelihood of redshirting. Aggregate measures are often
used in school effectiveness studies and commonly include
the percent of non-White students enrolled at the school and
the percentage of children eligible for free or reduced-price
meals (FRPM), an often-used proxy for socioeconomic sta-
tus. Bassok and Reardon (2013), in one of the few studies to
specifically look at school redshirting rates, indicated that as
school-level socioeconomic status (SES) levels increased,
so did redshirting rates. However, that association ceased to
be statistically significant once race-/ethnicity-related vari-
ables were entered in the model.
Another possible factor is how likely a school is to retain
or hold back a student (see Safer, 2012). Research has shown
that young-for-grade students, typically children born in the
summer months, are more likely to be retained in kindergar-
ten (Huang, 2014), and parents who would want to avoid
having their child retained may opt to delay enrollment
instead (see Mendez et al., 2014, for a comparison of retained
and redshirted student characteristics). Redshirting and
retention are likely linked in practice and important to con-
sider together (Winsler et al., 2012). Delaying kindergarten
entry has been seen as a way for educators to mitigate the
harmful effects of retention practices (Frey, 2005). As a
result, schools with high retention rates may also have high
redshirting rates.
Finally, a school’s reputation for having redshirted stu-
dents may also be a signal that redshirting is an acceptable
practice, as redshirting is “promoted through informal com-
munication and folk wisdom” (Graue & DiPerna, 2000, p.
531). Redshirting may be recommended by school officials
and teachers as older children are likely to be more mature
and have more advanced academic skills (Deming &
Dynarsky, 2008; Dougan & Pijanowski, 2011). From the
perspective of school administrators, redshirting may be
viewed as a free or low-cost way of addressing school-
readiness concerns (Graue & DiPerna, 2000). Consequently,
the prior year’s redshirting rates may be associated with the
current year’s redshirting rates. If redshirting is seen as the
norm at the school, more parents may be willing to engage in
the practice (Paul, 2010), and some may even be pressured
by others to do so (Safer, 2012).
The Present Study
Early studies on redshirting were largely based on conve-
nience samples that limited the generalizability of findings
(see Graue & DiPerna, 2000, and Uphoff & Gilmore, 1985,
for lists of studies). More recent research on redshirting has
used older, nationally representative data sets—such as the
ECLS—or large, state-level samples to look at a single snap-
shot in time (Bassok & Reardon, 2013; Graue & DiPerna,
2000; Lincove & Painter, 2006). The current study adds to
the growing body of knowledge on redshirting and addresses
some limitations of prior research by making use of a longi-
tudinal, population-level data set of kindergarteners from
one state. We asked the following questions: (a) What was
the prevalence of academic redshirting, and has the rate of
redshirting changed over the years? (b) Did the prevalence
of redshirting differ based on student demographic informa-
tion? (c) Were school-level variables associated with the
student-level likelihood of redshirting? Answering these
questions will provide additional information on the preva-
lence and practice of redshirting that goes beyond the use of
anecdotal evidence or samples collected more than a decade
ago.
The current study adds to prior research on redshirting in
several important ways. First, the last large-scale, statewide
analysis of redshirting was conducted more than a decade
ago (i.e., Graue & DiPerna, 2000), and the academic environ-
ment has changed since then. Second, the use of population-
level data provides more reliable information on the
prevalence of redshirting and reduces the potential measure-
ment errors associated with sample-based studies. Third, we
revisit the demographic characteristics of students who expe-
rienced delayed enrollment, and results are not hampered by
sampling error. Fourth, school-level factors associated with
redshirting have not been explored in more depth. Finally, the
use of longitudinal data allows the current research to detect
overall trends over time and allows us to see how prior red-
shirting or retention rates at the school level may be associ-
ated with future redshirting rates. To our knowledge, no other
peer-reviewed study has used state-level, population-level
data to investigate the phenomenon of academic redshirting,
let alone data spanning several years.
Method
Data Source
Data for the current study come from the Virginia
Department of Education (VDOE) administrative records.
Student demographic data from school years (SY) 2010–
2011, 2011–2012, and 2012–2013 were analyzed and com-
prised over approximately 80,000 students per year who
attended full-day kindergarten. There were around 1,000
schools in each of the years examined (see Table 1). Schools
that provided services primarily to students with disabilities
(i.e., special education centers) or had a small kindergarten
enrollment (i.e., <15 students) were excluded from the
analyses.
4
Measures
Student level. In SY 2012–2013, 49% of kindergarteners
were White, 23% were Black, 16% were Hispanic, 5% were
Asian, and 6% were of another race/ethnicity or of two or
more races. In terms of SES, 44% of students were eligible
for FRPM, a commonly used proxy for SES. Forty-nine per-
cent of kindergarteners were girls, and approximately 7%
had an identified disability. Prior year’s demographic char-
acteristics were relatively similar as well (see Table 1). In
comparison, nationally, the kindergarten population in the
fall of 2010 was 51% White, 14% Black, 25% Hispanic, and
5% Asian, and 6% were of some other or two or more races/
ethnicities (NCES, 2013).
School level. At the school level, on average, 85.98 (SD =
37.24) kindergarteners were enrolled per school in 2012–
2013. The percentage of students eligible for FRPM was
46.14 (SD = 24.72), and the percentage of White students
enrolled was 53.43 (SD = 28.97). School-level demographic
have remained relatively stable over the years as well (see
Table 1). The percentage of students with disabilities
decreased from 9.8% in 2010–2011 to 7.3% in 2012–2013.
Analytic Strategy
In the Commonwealth of Virginia, a child must be 5 years
of age on or before September 30th of the SY to be eligible
for kindergarten (VDOE, 2012). Excluding children who
were retained and using the state-mandated cutoff date
together with the child’s birthday, we determined if a child
was redshirted, enrolled on time, or enrolled early. Several
checks were made to review the quality of the data.
Considerable effort was spent retrieving, cleaning, convert-
ing, joining, and aggregating the different sources of data,
which were inspected prior to analysis (e.g., duplicate
records were removed, date of birth was reviewed).
Individual-level data were aggregated to form school-level
composites (e.g., percentage of White students in kindergar-
ten). All data management and analyses were done using
SAS 9.3.
The first part of the analyses focused on presenting
descriptive population prevalence rates for the three SYs.
Comparisons were made with students who were redshirted,
enrolled early, and enrolled on time using student demo-
graphic characteristics, including race/ethnicity, gender,
FRPM eligibility, and disability status. As the study focused
on first-time kindergarteners, students who were retained in
prior years, who are more often older as a result, are excluded
from the analyses as these children may be different based
on a variety of characteristics (Mendez et al., 2014). In addi-
tion, the month of birth of redshirted students is examined in
more detail to assess whether students born in the summer
months were consistently and disproportionately redshirted
over the years.
TABLE 1
Student- and School-Level Descriptive Statistics by School Year (SY)
Variable
SY 2010–2011 SY 2011–2012 SY 2012–2013
%MSD%MSD%M SD
Student level
Female 48.35 48.75 48.57
White 50.41 49.60 49.19
Black 24.76 24.09 24.04
Hispanic 14.81 15.31 15.79
Asian 5.06 5.60 5.42
Two or more races 4.97 5.40 5.56
With a disability 9.76 9.08 7.32
Eligible for FRPM 46.26 46.87 44.13
School level
Kindergarteners/school 81.94 38.74 86.20 38.41 85.98 37.24
% FRPM 48.83 23.47 49.16 24.47 46.14 24.72
% With disability 11.48 6.58 10.68 5.88 8.67 4.92
% White 54.22 29.04 53.72 28.60 53.43 28.97
% Retained 4.29 5.28 3.97 4.91 3.67 6.01
% Redshirted 3.49 3.48 3.44 3.30 3.33 3.32
Number of schools 1,020 1,009 1,000
Note. FRPM = free or reduced-price meals.
Redshirting Prevalence Rates
5
School-level redshirting rates were then investigated. The
distributions of redshirting rates were also examined over
the years. As SES is often cited as a driver of redshirting, we
broke out redshirting rates of schools based on the school-
level SES quartiles based on the percentage of students at the
school eligible for FRPM, with lower percentages indicating
higher-SES schools.
Finally, to account for both student- and school-level
characteristics, we ran a series of multilevel logistic regres-
sion models with students nested within schools (i.e., a
random-intercepts model using a hierarchical generalized
linear model with a binary outcome using a logit link func-
tion). The model predicted whether a student was redshirted
or not (1 = yes, 0 = no) based on student-level demographic
variables (i.e., gender, race/ethnicity, disability status, eligi-
bility for FRPM) and school-level variables. School demo-
graphic variables (i.e., percentage of White students,
percentage of students eligible for FRPM, number of kinder-
garteners enrolled, and percentage of students with disabili-
ties) were grand-mean centered. Prior year’s redshirting
rates (i.e., SYs 2010–2011 and 2011–2012) and retention
rates were left uncentered as a number of schools had neither
redshirted students (~20%) nor retained students (~15%).
We included SY as a fixed effect. Multilevel models were
conducted using SAS PROC GLIMMIX.
As with logistic regression models, results are shown
using odds ratios (ORs) and a 95% confidence interval for
the OR. A statistically significant OR of more than 1 signi-
fies a positive association with the independent variable and
a higher likelihood of being redshirted. An OR of less than 1
signifies a negative association and a lower likelihood. In
addition, we provide approximations of Cohen’s d, using
Chinn’s (2000) computation (i.e., d3 OR
[]ln
[]
), for
categorical variables and used Cohen’s (1992) guidelines for
interpreting d as an effect size, in which .20 = small, .50 =
moderate, and .80 = large.
Results
Prior to computing the redshirting rates per SY, we
excluded retained students. The numbers of kindergarteners
retained were 3,519 (4.21%), 3,231 (3.72%), and 3,006
(3.50%) students for SY 2010–2011, SY 2011–2012, and SY
2012–2013, respectively. Retention rates had declined over
the years of the study.
Redshirting Rates Across the Years
Table 2 presents the prevalence rates for kindergarteners
who were enrolled early and on time and were redshirted.
Only a very small percentage of students (~0.20%) enrolled
early, whereas the majority (96%) were on-time enrollees.
Over the years, redshirting rates have dropped from 3.55%
in fall 2010 to 3.36% in fall 2012. In SY 2011–2012, 2,957
kindergarteners were redshirted compared to 2,785 kinder-
garteners a year later.
In terms of the sociodemographic characteristics of the
redshirted students, Table 3 summarizes the results over the
three SYs. Based on race/ethnicity, the proportions of red-
shirted students remained relatively stable with only slight
changes over time. In fall 2012, the percentage of White stu-
dents redshirted (5.09%) was lower than in both prior years.
As a result, in fall 2012, White students were approximately
4 times more likely to be redshirted compared to Black stu-
dents (1.29%). Based on the descriptive statistics in SY
2012–2013, boys (4.53%) were more than twice as likely to
be redshirted compared to girls (2.12%). In terms of SES,
using eligibility for FRPM as a proxy, students who were not
eligible for FRPM were redshirted at much higher rates
(4.72%) compared to students who were eligible for FRPM
(1.63%). Based on disability status, students with an identi-
fied disability were more than twice as likely to be redshirted
(7.34%) compared to students without an identified disabil-
ity (3.04%). Notable is the general consistency of the trends
over the years. Even though there were some fluctuations
over time, redshirted students were more likely to be White
boys from higher-SES backgrounds with an identified
disability.
Month of Birth of Redshirted Students
A closer inspection of the birth dates of redshirted stu-
dents indicates that the majority of redshirted students had
summer birthdays (see Figure 1). Over the three SYs, more
than 70% of all redshirted students had birthdays in July,
August, and September. Notable is that approximately 40%
of redshirted students every year were born in September, or
the cutoff month by which they had to turn 5 to qualify for
kindergarten. A very small proportion of redshirted students
(<4%) were born in October to December. In terms of over-
all whole-day, first-time kindergarteners, there were fewer
than 100 students out of almost 83,000 students who had fall
birthdays (<0.001%). As a result, even though redshirting
may potentially widen the age gaps in the kindergarten class-
room, where the youngest student just turned 5 by the cutoff
date and the oldest child could be almost 7 years old, such
cases were not common.
School-Level Redshirting Rates
Approximately 20% of schools (around 200 schools
annually) did not have redshirted students. In each of the
SYs examined, only one school each year had redshirting
rates that were in excess of 20%, and it was the same school
in two out of the three instances. Only two schools out of
over 1,000 schools had redshirting rates over 20%, and of
6
those schools, the population was primarily White (>90%)
with students who were not economically disadvantaged
(<4% eligible for FRPM). When broken down into SES
quartiles, the schools with the highest SES had an average
redshirting rate of 5.5% compared to the lowest-SES schools
with a redshirting rate of 1.8% (see Figure 2).
Multilevel Logistic Regression Models Results
Although prior analyses presented profiles of redshirted
students, regression models were used in order to control for
the different predictors simultaneously. Based on student-
level characteristics, logistic regression results (see Table 4)
were consistent with all of the prior descriptive findings
even when controlling for observed student- and school-
level characteristics. Non-White students (ORs = 0.40–0.62,
ps < .001) and students eligible for FRPM (OR = 0.56, p <
.001) had a much lower likelihood of being redshirted com-
pared to White students and students not eligible for FRPM.
In addition, students with disabilities had odds of being red-
shirted that were higher by a factor of 2.11 compared to stu-
dents with no identified disabilities. Effect sizes for student
demographic variables can be considered small to moderate
in size based on Cohen’s (1992) guidelines (ds =
0.26–0.50).
At the school level, the proportion of White students and
kindergarten enrollment size were both not statistically sig-
nificant (ps > .05). Prior year’s retention rate was also not
predictive of redshirting, contrary to our hypothesis (OR =
1.00, p = .41). Further inspection indicated that the correla-
tion between school-level redshirting and retention rates was
negligible and not statistically significant as well (r = –.04,
p > .05). However, the proportion of students eligible for
FRPM (OR = 0.994, p < .001) and students with disabilities
TABLE 2
Enrollment Status of First-Time Kindergarteners in Virginia by School Year (SY)
SY 2010–2011 SY 2011–2012 SY 2012–2013
Enrollment Status N%N%N%
Enrolled early 175 0.20 172 0.22 158 0.19
Enrolled on time 77,039 96.23 80,611 96.26 80,027 96.45
Redshirted 2,845 3.55 2,957 3.53 2,785 3.36
Total 80,059 83,740 82,970
TABLE 3
Percentage of Redshirted Students by Race/Ethnicity, Gender, Economic Status, and Disability Status by School Year (SY)
Characteristic SY 2010–2011 SY 2011–2012 SY 2012–2013
Race/ethnicity
White 5.20 5.36 5.09
Black 1.47 1.28 1.29
Hispanic 1.98 1.76 1.51
Asian 2.74 2.69 2.78
Other/two or more races 2.69 2.70 2.77
Gender
Male 4.59 4.69 4.53
Female 2.44 2.32 2.12
Economic status
Eligible for FRPM 2.12 1.88 1.63
Not eligible for FRPM 4.59 4.99 4.72
Disability status
With an identified disability 7.23 6.54 7.34
Without an identified disability 3.16 3.23 3.04
Note. FRPM = free or reduced-price meals.
7
2.3
2.7
2.6
3.7
4.9
9.1
13.8
20.4
37.0
1.1
1.1
1.4
1.9
2.0
3.1
3.5
5.2
8.3
12.7
20.0
40.5
0.8
0.8
1.3
2.4
2.2
2.9
3.1
3.9
9.4
12.0
21.3
39.7
0.6
1.4
1.0
-
5.0
10.0
15.0
20.0
25.0
30.0
35.0
40.0
45.0
Jan Feb MarApr MayJun JulAug Sep Oct Nov Dec
2010-11 2011-12 2012-13
FIGURE 1. Percentage of redshirted kindergarteners by birth month and school year.
FIGURE 2. School-level redshirting rates by school year and socioeconomic status (SES) quartiles.
PR = percentile rank. SES measured by the percentage of students at the school eligible for free or reduced-price meals. Lower percentages = higher SES.
8
(OR = 1.016, p < .001) were predictive of student-level red-
shirting. Finally, the prior year’s redshirting rates were also
predictive of student-level redshirting (OR = 1.034, p <
.001). As an example, a student in a school with a 5% prior
redshirting rate had higher odds of being redshirted (OR =
1.18) compared to a student in a school that did not have any
students redshirted in prior years.
Discussion
The prevalence rates in the current study were lower than
the national rate reported by O’Donnell (2008) and more in
line with the estimates of Bassok and Reardon (2013; i.e.,
4.0% to 5.5%). Findings indicate that, contrary to reports in
the popular media, redshirting rates, at least in Virginia, are
not as high as many may be led to believe. In addition, red-
shirting rates have not risen in recent years but have actually
decreased.
In terms of student-level characteristics associated with
redshirting, findings are consistent with prior studies report-
ing that redshirted students are more likely to be White boys
who were not economically disadvantaged (Bassok &
Reardon, 2013; NCES, 2013; O’Donnell, 2008; Zill et al.,
1997). Findings were also relatively consistent over the three
SYs. Parents who can afford another year of child care prior
to entering their child into kindergarten may be choosing to
do so, whereas parents from economically disadvantaged
homes may not have that luxury (Winsler et al., 2012). In
households where both parents have to work, delaying kin-
dergarten may be too expensive an option (Frey, 2005).
Even though prior studies have shown that students born
in the summer months are more likely to be redshirted
(Graue & DiPerna, 2000; Uphoff & Gilmore, 1985), our
findings indicate that only a relatively small percentage of
students actually have birthdays that would make them
almost 2 years older than the youngest child. As a result, the
large age gaps between redshirted students versus on-time
students may not be as inflated, as over 70% of redshirted
students may be older than the naturally oldest child in the
classroom by only 1 to 3 months.
Since the birth dates of redshirted students are quite close
to the cutoff dates, this may suggest that parents redshirt stu-
dents to avoid or mitigate any disadvantages associated with
being the youngest in the class (Bracey, 1989). Several stud-
ies have shown the various disadvantages that the youngest
child in the class generally faces (Huang, 2014; Dhuey &
Lipscomb, 2010; Evans, Morrill, & Parente, 2010).
Interestingly, decades ago, it may have been a source of
parental pride to report that children had skipped a grade and
were ahead in school (Ashbrook, 2014), but in more recent
times, early kindergarten enrollment is not a common phe-
nomenon, with less than 0.20% enrolling early.
Of interest as well is that students with disabilities were
more likely to be redshirted. However, parents who are red-
shirting their children to allow them more time to mature
should carefully consider that early intervention may address
the child’s needs better than redshirting alone (Jaekel et al.,
2015). Jaekel et al. (2015) indicated that delaying formal
instruction and not providing special education services dur-
ing a key developmental period may be detrimental to
TABLE 4
Multilevel Logistic Regression Results (N = 162,391)
Model A Model B
Variable OR 95% CI OR 95% CI d
Student level
Female 0.50*** [0.47, 0.53] 0.50*** [0.47, 0.53] .38
Black 0.35*** [0.32, 0.39] 0.40*** [0.36, 0.45] .50
Hispanic 0.45*** [0.41, 0.51] 0.48*** [0.43, 0.54] .40
Asian 0.50*** [0.44, 0.58] 0.53*** [0.46, 0.61] .35
Other 0.60*** [0.52, 0.68] 0.62*** [0.54, 0.71] .26
Eligible for FRPM 0.52*** [0.48, 0.55] 0.56*** [0.52, 0.61] .32
With a disability 2.13*** [1.97, 2.29] 2.11*** [1.95, 2.28] .41
School level
% of White students 1.00 [1.00, 1.00]
% eligible for FRPM 0.99*** [0.99, 1.00]
% with disabilities 1.02*** [1.01, 1.02]
Kindergarten enrollment 1.00 [0.99, 1.01]
Prior year’s redshirting rate 1.03*** [1.02, 1.04]
Prior year’s retention rate 1.00 [0.99, 1.00]
Note. OR = odds ratio. CI = confidence interval. FRPM = free or reduced-price meals. School year is included as a fixed effect.
***p < .001.
Redshirting Prevalence Rates
9
children with special needs, given that redshirting does not
necessarily bestow an academic advantage.
Even though there is a large amount of variation in terms
of school-level redshirting rates, having rates over 20% is
not at all common (see Figure 2), and redshirting rates of
94%, such as reported by the early study of Graue and
DiPerna (2000), are unheard of (though Graue and DiPerna
stated that the high rate was not typical and was a result of a
small district with only one kindergarten class). Again,
though, SES is associated with the prevalence of redshirting
at both the student and the school level.
Prior year’s retention rates were not predictive of redshirt-
ing and actually had no correlation with redshirting rates.
Even though theoretically and conceptually, redshirting and
retention are related as they both involve holding children
back a year and are often studied together (Mendez et al.,
2014; Winsler et al., 2012), our findings did not support that
relationship. However, the prior year’s redshirting rates were
predictive of redshirting and have a similar effect compared
to school-level FRPM. Although it may not be surprising that
schools that have been known to allow redshirting are also
the schools with the higher redshirting rates, such a relation-
ship has not been empirically shown. Some school districts
(e.g., Chicago Public Schools) have set age caps in which if a
child turns 6 by a particular cutoff, the student will have to
enroll in first grade instead of kindergarten at certain schools
(Dizikes, 2011). In such an instance, if a child is older than
necessary, he or she will be placed in first grade instead of
kindergarten. In cases where some schools have previously
allowed redshirted students, this may be a signal to parents
that redshirting is an acceptable practice.
Limitations
Although a large, statewide, longitudinal data set was
used in the analysis, several limitations must be kept in mind
when interpreting results. First, the study was limited to one
state, although the race/ethnicity compositions of White and
non-White kindergarteners were comparable to national
averages. The pattern, though, of redshirting rates by race/
ethnicity in the current study was approximately the same as
those found using national data (Snyder & Dillow, 2013). In
addition, redshirting rates within a state may vary widely
(e.g., Graue & DiPerna, 2000), but average redshirting rates
between regions in the United States may not be that differ-
ent (Bassok & Reardon, 2013). However, Virginia (in 2009–
2010), compared to 49 other states, had below-average
public school teacher salaries and state and local per-pupil
funding for preK–12 students (Joint Legislative Audit and
Review Commission [JLARC], 2013). Based on the National
Assessment for Educational Progress (2014), fourth-grade
math and reading scores for Virginia in 2013 were higher
than the national average. For a more detailed comparison of
the similarities and differences of Virginia to other states on
different indicators (e.g., population, percentage living
below the poverty line), see JLARC (2013). Second, even
though redshirted students could be identified, the motiva-
tions for redshirting are unknown. More qualitative studies,
such as that of Noel and Newman (2003) could shed light on
the actual reasons behind redshirting. Finally, even though
we had population-level data, this also limited the type of
data that could be included in our analysis. Other measures
that may be associated with redshirting, such as socioemo-
tional skills, could not be evaluated. Winsler et al. (2012)
showed in their study that redshirted students had lower cog-
nitive, behavioral, language, motor, and social skills. Despite
these limitations, however, the current study adds to our
understanding of statewide trends in redshirting and the pat-
terns of the practice over time.
Conclusions
Although alarming headlines may indicate that redshirt-
ing has become the new norm and is on the rise, the opposite
may actually be true. Using recent, longitudinal, statewide
population-level data, the current study shows that the aver-
age redshirting rates in Virginia have hovered around 3.5%
from 2010 to 2013 and have gotten slightly lower over time.
Even a review of redshirting rates using national data sets
has suggested that redshirting rates have been on a down-
ward trend. However, what the popular press may likely be
reporting on are atypical schools with a very high percentage
of parents who may choose to delay kindergarten enroll-
ment. In those cases, schools are more likely to be high-SES
schools with a greater percentage of White students.
However, citing high rates of redshirting may wind up pro-
moting the practice, as this suggests that redshirting is a very
common practice (e.g., “Everyone is doing it anyway”)
when in actuality, schools with high prevalence rates are
actually not the norm (e.g., one out of 1,000).
Although the widening age differences in the classroom
resulting from redshirting may be a cause for concern, most
redshirted students (>70%) are born in the summer months,
indicating that the age difference between the naturally oldest
child and the majority of redshirted students may be only 1 to 3
months. In particular, approximately 40% of redshirted students
had birthdays in September that would have made them the
youngest child in the class, which suggests that parents may
be delaying entry to avoid the problems associated with being
the youngest in the classroom. However, this is not to say that
the unnatural age spans in a classroom are not a cause for con-
cern, but school policies that promote or discourage redshirting
are likely associated with the prevalence of the practice.
Acknowledgment
This paper was prepared using data provided under a contract with
the Virginia Department of Education. The content does not neces-
sarily reflect the views or policies of the Virginia Department of
Huang
10
Education, the Virginia Board of Education, or the Commonwealth
of Virginia. Consequently, the Virginia Department of Education,
the Virginia Board of Education, and the Commonwealth of
Virginia are not responsible for the paper’s content or any loss suf-
fered due to the use of such content. Moreover, the mention of any
trade names, commercial products, or organizations in this paper is
not an endorsement of any of these entities by the Virginia
Department of Education, the Virginia Board of Education, or the
Commonwealth of Virginia.
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Author
FRANCIS L. HUANG, PhD, is an assistant professor in the
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tion of empirically supported measures and scales.

Supplementary resource (1)

... The practice is thought to represent 3-7% of children entering school in North America (Bassok & Reardon, 2013;Greenburg & Winsler, 2020). Notably, those redshirted are most often white boys from high income families (Albanesi, 2019;Bassok & Reardon, 2013;Huang, 2015), with children from low income or ethnically diverse population groups less represented in this practice (Greenburg & Winsler, 2020). It is suggested that reasons for delayed entry in North America could be based on two main factors; concern over a child's development or wanting advantage for the child (Fortner & Jenkins, 2017); the second of the two motivations referred to as "gaming" (p. ...
... In all studies, parents of White ethnicity with a higher-than-average annual income were over-represented. The view that high-SES families of White ethnicity tend to be overrepresented in those delaying entry to school is noted in global research (Bassok & Reardon, 2013;Dee & Sievertsen, 2018;Greenburg & Winsler, 2020;Hanly et al., 2019;Huang, 2015). It is unfortunate that Cirin and Lubwama (2018) and King and Hammond (2021) did not collect information on parental education levels, as the sample in this study had education levels which exceeded the national average. ...
... This could inform updates to DfE guidance for local authorities of the admission of summer-born children into school.The second proposed area for future research is understanding more information about the demographics of the families requesting Reception school starts at CSA; something that would help to contribute to discussion about potential long-term implications from this practice. To date, research suggests that parents from a high-SES background are those choosing to delay their child's school admission(Bassok & Reardon, 2013;Dee & Sievertsen, 2018;Greenburg & Winsler, 2020;Hanly et al., 2019;Huang, 2015), but it is not clear whether this is skewed by those wishing to participate in research. It would therefore be of interest if a national picture of the families gaining agreement for a reception school start at CSA could be obtained via requests made to admission authorities. ...
Thesis
In England, parents legally have a right to wait until the term after their child’s fifth birthday before sending them to school; when the child is of Compulsory School Age (CSA). For summer-born children, this can result in them starting school a full year after they might have otherwise. There exists limited research in England on why parents choose to delay their summer-born child’s entry into school, and what their experience is of the process. This study contributes to a gap in the literature. A multimethod study was conducted, collecting qualitative data from survey participants (n = 153) and interviewees (n = 10), which was analysed using thematic analysis. The results indicate that parental reasons for delaying their child’s entry to school are complex and cannot be reduced to one reason. However, they include; individual child factors; the child within the family and school system; parental values, beliefs, and views of the English education system. Parents’ experiences of the process of delaying their child’s entry into school included; systematic barriers impacting on fair and equitable access, and the need for parental ability and capacity to engage with the process. The participants in this study were typically affluent and highly-educated, which aligns with other research on families delaying their child’s entry into school. Issues around equality of access are therefore discussed. This study proposes that future research is needed on understanding more about the families opting to delay, and the potential long-term implications of this. Implications for Educational Psychologists include having increasing awareness of the practice of delayed entry, working with families to understand their views, and working within school systems to support summer-born children.
... However, there is limited research specifically examining the number of children redshirted in kindergarten who have disabilities. Many researchers have found children with disabilities are more likely to be redshirted than typically developing children [24,25]. Similarly, researchers have found redshirting rates for children with disabilities are higher than those of the general population [25,26]. ...
... In the US, the final decision of whether to delay a child's kindergarten entry (redshirt) is up to the child's parents. Nine studies published since 2000 addressed variables related to prevalence, predictors, or underlying motivations in parents' decisions to redshirt their child [2][3][4]21,22,24,25,33,34]. ...
... In comparison, Graue and DiPerna [22], Huang [24], Winsler et al. [33], and Fortner and Jenkins [25,34] examined the prevalence and predictors of delayed entry into kindergarten. Graue and DiPerna [22] collected data from a random sample of the 367 school districts in Wisconsin. ...
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The purpose of this paper is to explore issues and concerns related to academic redshirting in kindergarten and to discuss implications of this practice for children with disabilities. Although parents cite a variety of reasons for redshirting their child, only limited evidence of academic or social benefit can be found. A search was conducted to identify studies relevant to academic redshirting and inclusive of children with disabilities published within the past 20 years, and 17 articles were identified related to the topic. From these articles, three central topics emerged: (a) prevalence, predictors, or parent motivations for kindergarten redshirting, (b) the impact of redshirting on academic achievement and post-secondary outcomes, and (c) the impact of this practice on a child’s behavior. While assumptions can be made based on the research conducted using a general education population, the impact of kindergarten redshirting on the success of children with disabilities is unclear due to the limited amount of research that currently exists. Implications for children with disabilities are discussed.
... Regardless of the type of educational system, the controversy around the practice of academic redshirting continues to receive attention in the popular press (e.g., Lin et al., 2009;Safer, 2012;Moyer, 2013;Ashbrook, 2014;Schanzenbach and Larson, 2017) and in the academic field (e.g., Mendez et al., 2014;Huang, 2015;Barnadr-Brak and Albright, 2017;Fortner and Jenkins, 2018). A few studies have demonstrated some short-term benefits of academic redshirting (e.g., Datar, 2006;Bedard and Dhuey, 2006;Pong, 2009), although the majority of studies have shown no particular lasting advantages for redshirting students (e.g., Graue and Diperna, 2000;Gladwell, 2008;Cascio and Schanzenbach, 2016;Gottfried et al., 2016;Attar and Cohen-Zada, 2018). ...
... One of the most commonly mentioned benefits of redshirting is to rely on more sophisticated cognitive development as a result of higher age (e.g., Datar, 2006;NICHD Early Childhood Care Research, 2007;Dougan and Pijanowski, 2011;Huang, 2015). However, there is some controversy regarding these premise (Attar and Cohen-Zada, 2018). ...
... Some studies emphasise the importance of variables other than age to explain cognitive differences, namely, the child's sex, the family's economic background, and parent's higher education (Attar and Cohen-Zada, 2018). Other mentioned benefits of being redshirted is that children are less likely to be retained (e.g., Datar, 2006;Huang, 2014), and less likely to be diagnosed with learning disabilities (Peterson et al., 2010;Huang, 2015). To those who were already diagnosed with learning disabilities, redshirting does not appear to be especially beneficial (Barnard-Brak et al., 2015). ...
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The controversy around the effect of academic redshirting on reading acquisition continues receiving attention in the international literature. However, few studies are known with non-English speaking children. In this study we intend to understand this phenomenon with 698 Portuguese speaking first graders, 360 girls (51.6%), aged between 5 years old and 8 months and 7 years old and 6 months (M = 6.3 months, SD = 3.9 months). Reading acquisition precursors were assessed namely phonemic awareness and letter-sound knowledge. Results reveal that 5.9% of first graders are redshirted. Clusters analysis indicated two clusters per variable. Cluster 1 with low phonemic awareness and letter-sound knowledge and low socioeconomic status, cluster 2 with high phonemic awareness and letter-sound knowledge and medium-high socioeconomic status. The cluster results suggest a prevalence of 24.5% children at risk of having learning difficulties. The MANOVA indicated that only socioeconomic status has an effect on phonemic awareness and letter-sound knowledge, with children from medium-high level presenting higher results. It is concluded that redshirting did not bring additional advantages for reading acquisition success. Implications about the importance of education in order to lessen those differences, as well as prevent difficulties are presented.
... Not all children are equally likely to delay school entry. Across multiple studies, a consistent picture has emerged: the propensity to delay is higher for boys, children born closer to the enrolment cut-off, children from more economically advantaged backgrounds, native English speakers in the USA and Australia, and-in the USA-White rather than Black, Asian or Hispanic children (Bassok & Reardon, 2013;Edwards, Taylor, & Fiorini, 2011;Fortner & Jenkins, 2017;Graue & DiPerna, 2000;Herbst & Paweł, 2016;Huang, 2015;Winsler et al., 2012;Yeş il Daǧli & Jones, 2012). Fortner and Jenkins (2017) discuss two mechanisms which drive these patterns: negative and positive selection. ...
... However, delayed entry typically incurs a cost, either in additional childcare fees or lost wages, and for this reason positive selection may be less likely among lower income families (Bassok & Reardon, 2013). Several recent studies have found evidence of both positive and negative selection practices in the USA (Bassok & Reardon, 2013;Fortner & Jenkins, 2017;Huang, 2015). Huang (2015) found that in the state of Virginia, children with disabilities were twice as likely to delay school entry compared to students without an identified disability-an example of negative selection. ...
... Several recent studies have found evidence of both positive and negative selection practices in the USA (Bassok & Reardon, 2013;Fortner & Jenkins, 2017;Huang, 2015). Huang (2015) found that in the state of Virginia, children with disabilities were twice as likely to delay school entry compared to students without an identified disability-an example of negative selection. Fortner and Jenkins (2017) found evidence of positive selection in North Carolina: children who delayed school entry were more likely to be academically or intellectually gifted compared to similar students who enrolled in kindergarten as scheduled. ...
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In Australia’s most populous state, New South Wales (NSW), children born between January and July have the choice to start school in the year they turn five, or delay entry until the year they turn six. We used linked administrative data for children who started school in NSW in 2009 or 2012 (N = 162,878) to identify child, family and area characteristics associated with delayed entry, and to explore the relationship between school starting age and five domains of child development, measured using the Australian Early Development Census (AEDC) in the first year of school. Among both the 2009 and 2012 cohorts, 26% of children delayed starting school until the year they turned six. Area-level rates of delay ranged from 8% to 54% across 198 areas in NSW, with lower levels in disadvantaged urban areas. Factors associated with delayed entry included male sex, a birth date close to the enrolment cut-off date, socioeconomic advantage, and having a mother born in Australia. There was a strong, significant relationship between school starting age and early childhood development: each month of maturity corresponded to an increase of approximately 3% in the probability of scoring above the 25th percentile in all five AEDC domains. Independent of school starting age, children who were older in relation to their classroom peers had better development outcomes. The potential for initial age-related differences to impact later school outcomes warrants further longitudinal research.
... See e.g.Lenard and Peña (2018) for further discussion of redshirting by ethnicity andHuang (2015) regarding its overall prevalence. ...
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Slightly missing a school cutoff date, and a student's relative age in their cohort, have been shown in to have important effects. For example, a student's relative age appears related to academic performance in both primary and secondary school, though how far into life relative age effects persist remains an open question. We make use of a nationwide sample of over 80,000 undergraduate students from over 600 U.S. institutions of higher education to see if relative age is related to alcohol consumption and time spent partying during college tenure. State cutoff date laws for kindergarten enrollment result in some undergraduate students reaching the legal drinking age up to a full year before others in their cohort. Results suggest students of older relative ages generally drink less alcohol than their peers during undergraduate tenure, implying the maturity effect of an older age is stronger than the legal deterrence effect. These results appear robust to alcohol type (beer, wine, and liquor), time spent at parties, and a significant list of control variables including historical alcohol consumption and partying behavior. In a secondary analysis, relative age appears to have the same negative relationship with high school drinking and partying habits.
... Students who were too old for kindergarten or too young to be enrolled in VPI were also excluded from the analysis (n kinder = 385; n ps = 95) as these students are also known to differ on several characteristics compared to students who enrolled on time (Stipek, 2002). For example, students who attended VPI and were in kindergarten (i.e., in the treatment condition) but were old-forgrade may be due to the child being retained in grade (the largest proportion of students to be retained in the U.S. were in kindergarten or first grade; Planty et al., 2009) or because the child was enrolled late or redshirted by their parents (Huang, 2015). ...
Article
This study investigated the causal impact of attending a state-funded pre-K program, the Virginia Preschool Initiative (VPI), on letter name knowledge using a regression discontinuity (RD) design. Children who attended VPI (n = 9,689) had higher letter name knowledge (9 letters higher) compared to students who had just begun VPI (n = 10,897). Findings were robust across various model specifications and imputation methods used. Effect sizes were large (ES = 0.89–1.01) and comparable to other statewide pre-K evaluations using an RD design with a similar outcome.
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Background: Children who are relatively young for their school grade are more likely to receive treatment for attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD). It is unclear whether the phenomenon also exists across Australia or is impacted by the school enrolment policy in place. Objective: We evaluated the association between children's relative age and initiation of ADHD medicines across Australian jurisdictions with different school enrolment policies and rates of delayed school entry. Methods: We used Australia-wide dispensing data for a 15% random sample of children 4-9 years of age in 2013-2017 to create a nationwide cohort. Due to high rates of delayed school entry in New South Wales (NSW), we used linked prescribing and education data for a cohort of NSW residents starting school in 2009 and 2012. We estimated incidence rate ratios (IRRs) for ADHD medicine across children's birth month, sex, and jurisdiction. We used asthma medicines as a negative control. Results: For girls, we observed a relative age effect in three out of five jurisdictions, with an IRR ranging from 1.3 to 2.8, comparing the youngest versus oldest birth month thirds. We observed more modest effects among boys, ranging from null to 1.5-fold. In NSW, the relatively youngest boys were less likely to initiate stimulant medicines than the oldest (IRR = 0.5, 95% confidence interval 0.29-0.78). We did not observe a relative age effect for initiation of asthma medicines. Conclusions: In jurisdictions with low rates of delayed entry, relatively young children were more likely to initiate ADHD medicines than their older classmates. We observed the inverse association in NSW where delayed entry was highest, likely reflecting the characteristics and needs of children who delay school entry for 1 year and become the oldest children in the grade. Increased awareness around children's maturity differences and school readiness may enhance appropriate diagnosis and treatment of ADHD.
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There are sizable and pervasive academic achievement gaps between minority and non-minority students in the United States. Non-minority students – particularly boys – are more likely to enroll in school one year after they become eligible, a practice known as ‘redshirting.’ Consequently, non-minority students are on average more mature than minority students when they take standardized tests. Many studies have documented that differences in maturity at the moment of testing translate into large differences in test scores. Thus, differences in redshirting behavior across minority and non-minority students may be a contributing factor to achievement gaps. This study analyzes the effect of redshirting on achievement gaps using a reform in North Carolina that shifted the cutoff date for school eligibility in 2009 from October 16 to August 31. We use the reform to create an instrumental variable for redshirting behavior. Using data for eight cohorts of 3rd graders in the Wake County Public School System and a difference-in-differences approach, we estimate that redshirting increases the achievement gap by 28%–30% among boys born close to the cutoff date for school eligibility, and 3%–4% among all boys. For girls, the estimates are 8%–11% for those born close to the cutoff and 1% overall, but these estimates lack statistical significance. We discuss some policy implications of shifting the cutoff date for school eligibility – 14 states have done since 2000 – and growing redshirting rates.
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Common stereotypes associate high-level intellectual ability (brilliance, genius, etc.) with men more than women. These stereotypes discourage women’s pursuit of many prestigious careers; that is, women are underrepresented in fields whose members cherish brilliance (such as physics and philosophy). Here we show that these stereotypes are endorsed by, and influence the interests of, children as young as 6. Specifically, 6-year-old girls are less likely than boys to believe that members of their gender are “really, really smart.” Also at age 6, girls begin to avoid activities said to be for children who are “really, really smart.” These findings suggest that gendered notions of brilliance are acquired early and have an immediate effect on children’s interests.
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The authors examined long-term outcomes for children who experienced delayed entry to kindergarten or kindergarten retention. They used a cohort of 6,841 students to compare these groups to each other and typically progressing peers. First, the authors compared the groups on demographic and early childhood variables. For the long-term school-based outcomes, they used propensity score analysis to address pretreatment differences between groups and examined outcomes by free or reduced-price versus paid lunch status. Results showed that the retained group experienced greater early risk than the delayed entry and typically progressing groups and poorer long-term outcomes even when controlling for pre-existing differences. Other than placement in special education, few differences emerged between the delayed entry and typically progressing groups. Implications of the study for progression decisions are discussed.
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A critical analysis of recent reviews on the effects of early entrance to first grade by prominent educators and organizations demonstrated that most of the reviewers relied heavily on the same few sources, and that the findings in these sources were frequently misinterpreted. Further analysis of the studies in the reviews indicated that pupils who had entered first grade early were one year ahead in grade and approximately three months ahead in average achievement of pupils of similar intelligence and age who had not entered school early; but when early entrants were compared upon anticipated achievement scores with pupils of similar intelligence and grade level, but one year older, it was discovered that the early entrants were approximately seven months behind this criterion group in average achievement.
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Recent reports suggest that delayed school entry (DSE) may be beneficial for children with developmental delays. However, studies of the effects of DSE are inconclusive. This study investigated the effects of DSE versus age-appropriate school entry (ASE) on children's academic achievement and attention in middle childhood. In total, 999 children (492 females, 507 males; 472 born preterm) were studied as part of a prospective population-based longitudinal study in Germany. Using a natural experimental design, propensity score matching was applied to create two matched groups who differed only in terms of DSE versus ASE. Teacher ratings of achievement in mathematics, reading, writing, and attention were obtained in Year 1, and standardized tests were administered at 8 years of age. There was no evidence of a difference in the odds of DSE versus ASE children being rated as above average by teachers in Year 1. In contrast, the standardized mean test scores for DSE children were lower than ASE children's mean scores in all domains (mathematics: B=-0.28 [-0.51 to -0.06)], reading: B=-0.39 [-0.65 to -0.14], writing: B=-0.90 [-1.07 to -0.74], and attention: B=-0.58 [-0.79 to -0.36]). DSE did not affect teacher-rated academic performance. However, missing 1 year of learning opportunities was associated with poorer average performance in standardized tests at 8 years of age. Future research is needed to determine the long-term effect of DSE on academic achievement. © 2015 Mac Keith Press.
Objective: To determine whether students older than most other students at their grade level ("old for grade") are more likely to report engaging in alcohol, tobacco, and drug-related behaviors.Design: Cross-sectional analyses of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Youth Risk Behavior Survey.Setting: Monroe County, New York.Participants: A total of 1396 high school students from selected classrooms; 68 classrooms randomly selected within schools with the number of students per school proportionally selected from the 28 schools in the county.Main Outcome Measure: Rates of drug-related behaviors by age-for-grade status.Results: Thirty-six percent of adolescents surveyed were old for grade. Adjusting for multiple potential confounders, old-for-grade high school students were more likely to report being regular smokers, chewing tobacco, drinking alcoholic beverages, driving in a car with someone who had been drinking, using alcohol or other drugs before last sexual intercourse, using cocaine in the past month, ever using crack, and using injected or other illicit drugs.Conclusions: Old-for-grade status is a potentially important marker for drug-related behaviors in adolescents. The antecedents of adolescent risk-taking behavior may begin before the teen years, and prevention of school failure or interventions targeted toward old-for-grade children could affect their propensity to experiment with or use drugs during adolescence.Arch Pediatr Adolesc Med. 1996;150:470-476)
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Young-for-grade kindergarteners experience a disproportionate risk of retention compared to their old-for-grade peers. Using the Early Childhood Longitudinal Study-Kindergarten cohort dataset, this study investigated whether socioemotional skills mediated the association of age with kindergarten retention. Multilevel logistic regression models tested whether certain positive (e.g., interpersonal skills, approaches to learning) and negative (e.g., externalizing behavior) socioemotional skills were related to the likelihood of grade repetition, while controlling for academic abilities and student demographic variables. Findings showed that the relatively youngest kindergarteners were approximately five times more likely to be retained compared to the oldest student and that a child's approach to learning (e.g., attentiveness, task persistence) contributed as much as a child's academic abilities in relation to the likelihood of repeating a grade.
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We use two nationally representative data sets to estimate the prevalence of kindergarten “redshirting”—the decision to delay a child’s school entry. We find that between 4% and 5.5% of children delay kindergarten, a lower number than typically reported in popular and academic accounts. Male, White, and high-SES children are most likely to delay kindergarten, and schools serving larger proportions of White and high-income children have far higher rates of delayed entry. We find no evidence that children with lower cognitive or social abilities at age 4 are more likely to redshirt, suggesting parents’ decisions to delay entry may be driven by concerns about children’s relative position within a kindergarten cohort. Implications for policy are discussed.