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    #197572 - 07/31/14 06:37 PM Age grouping
    ConnectingDots Offline

    Registered: 09/06/13
    Posts: 848
    I'm on another forum and have been discouraged by how completely people are bought into the notion that kids should be the oldest in their classes, benefit from being held back or starting late (the "gift" of another year sick line), etc.

    It makes me realize how pervasive this attitude is and that it likely explains a lot about the struggles we face in acceleration. What I wonder is why do people think this this way? Is there actual research or is this just anecdotes run amok?

    Edited by ConnectingDots (07/31/14 06:39 PM)

    #197575 - 07/31/14 08:03 PM Re: Age grouping [Re: ConnectingDots]
    nicoledad Offline

    Registered: 05/26/12
    Posts: 235
    I don't think people are necessarily wrong about the benefits of kids being older in their classes. I was one of them that was an older one and it probably benefitted me. I think each case is different. Is this other forum a gifted forum? I think at times parents of gifted children can't relate to non gifted parents and vice versa. In regards to actual research you can probably find conflicting results.

    #197577 - 07/31/14 08:23 PM Re: Age grouping [Re: ConnectingDots]
    ndw Offline

    Registered: 11/29/13
    Posts: 314
    A interesting article from the New Yorker gives a potted history of the topic which is consistent with what I have heard, and our experience (subject pool of 1!), although I haven't accessed the primary sources.

    The rationalization is, while being older in a sports cohort conveys advantages, the same does not necessarily true in academics. Certainly from what we have seen, one of the big advantages of acceleration is that our DD has to work harder to be near the top of the class. There is no advantage to being first in the class if you didn't learn anything new that year. Interestingly one of DDs friends doesn't like being accelerated because being first is so very important to her where DD cares more about learning new things.

    So the answer would appear to be that there is research to support the idea that red shirting does not convey an academic advantage, and may in fact do the opposite.

    In a related argument , there is research to support not repeating students if they do poorly, as the repitition can do more harm than good.

    #197578 - 07/31/14 08:26 PM Re: Age grouping [Re: ConnectingDots]
    22B Offline

    Registered: 02/10/13
    Posts: 1228
    [ ]actual research
    [x]anecdotes run amok

    I've read that redshirting can have a negative effect. The student can become bored and complacent because they are doing easy schoolwork intended for younger children. (Redshirting could make sense for a student who is sufficintly below average intellectually that they can't keep up with their average agemates.)

    #197579 - 07/31/14 08:30 PM Re: Age grouping [Re: ConnectingDots]
    blackcat Offline

    Registered: 05/23/13
    Posts: 2154
    I think there are 3 reasons parents redshirt kids, or feel that way.
    1. They honestly think their child isn't ready and will therefore do poorly in school, or had the experience of their child being the youngest and struggling.
    2. They want their kid to be one of the top kids in the class (be it in sports or academics or socially), and older kids have an advantage in the younger grades.
    3. Everyone else is doing it, so it must be right, or people are conforming to what everyone else is doing so there won't be an even bigger gap in ages (like a child who is the youngest being with kids who were red-shirted and therefore almost 2 years older).
    It would be interesting to see what the percentage breakdown is.

    For those who are genuinely concerned their child is not "ready", I think they need to wake up and realize that if the best thing for a child is to "hold them back" because they are immature (or whatever), something is wrong with the school system, not the child. If a school has a certain age cut-off, like a Sept. 1st birthday, then the school should be prepared to deal with ALL kids that fall in that age range that meet the age criteria in a developmentally appropriate way. I seldom hear anyone complain about how strange it is that so many young boys (boys in particular) are held back because they aren't "ready" for school, and therefore challenge the school system for engaging in inappropriate practices. Some schools/teachers actually encourage parents to red-shirt, which I think is absurd.

    #197581 - 07/31/14 08:47 PM Re: Age grouping [Re: ConnectingDots]
    ndw Offline

    Registered: 11/29/13
    Posts: 314
    Both 22B and Blackcat make good points.

    This is another summary of some of the research.

    It is interesting that is primarily boys that are red shirted and that some parents apparently make the decision at birth, so they are not waiting to make a judgement based on their child's actual level of school readiness or behaviour when they turn 5 or 6.

    When red shirting is a pervasive attitude in the community then it can become one more argument against acceleration for gifted kids. Although it was interesting to read that when some red shirted students hit school their parents found themselves pushing for a more advanced curriculum as their children become frustrated with the level and pace of kindergarten.

    If schools weren't all about age grouping for academic progress perhaps the arguments about red shirting would occur less. Students could just attend the class level that best met their needs.

    #197584 - 07/31/14 09:27 PM Re: Age grouping [Re: ndw]
    madeinuk Offline

    Registered: 03/18/13
    Posts: 1453
    Loc: NJ
    I found this interesting:-

    All groups who are overage-for-grade, whether they have been redshirted or retained, have higher participation in special education services for learning disabilities, cognitive disabilities, and emotional disabilities.

    Given that red shirting occurs primarily in higher SES families that clearly game the system, I wonder whether the higher incidence of special Ed service recipients among overage-for-grade kids is caused by the families gaming the system further by getting their kids classified to get extra time on tests etc...
    Become what you are

    #197589 - 08/01/14 05:47 AM Re: Age grouping [Re: ConnectingDots]
    Loy58 Offline

    Registered: 09/11/13
    Posts: 816
    In our area, I see many more boys than girls being held back. While "maturity" is usually cited, it really seems like "larger for sports" is a big concern, with a thought that academics will be better coming second.

    With some parents holding their children back, I definitely see other parents with younger-for-grade children feeling pressured to do the same.

    I used to be concerned that being younger for grade would place my DC at a disadvantage (although I never seriously considered holding them back), but I have since realized that it is a blessing in disguise for mine - as others on this board have previously pointed out, it is almost like getting a free grade-skip. The problem I see is that if a formal grade-skip is needed in the future for either DC, it is a BIG physical/social jump to the age group ahead (considering the number of "hold-backs" in that grade).

    #197596 - 08/01/14 07:53 AM Re: Age grouping [Re: ConnectingDots]
    cmguy Offline

    Registered: 03/30/14
    Posts: 387
    I used to believe in redshirting. But actually having a real live kid (who will start private kindergarten just shy of his 4th birthday) has changed my mind. If the private option was not available we would have to wait till he was almost 6 (because of stupid birthday rules) to start him in public kindergarten. How many weeks can a HG kid spend learning what the letter "M" is before they just start going nuts? I am not going to find out - we are going to kindergarten.

    #197597 - 08/01/14 07:54 AM Re: Age grouping [Re: ConnectingDots]
    indigo Offline

    Registered: 04/27/13
    Posts: 5227
    age classes totally removed
    Agreed! If schools focused on readiness/ability for cluster grouping students in each subject, it may be a more natural learning environment... more similar to college, workplace, community, family, in which those one interacts with on a regular basis are of different ages and diverse interests. Clustering by readiness and ability in each subject may enhance a teacher's ability to present material, support learning, and address topical questions in a meaningful way. Clustering by readiness and ability may help provide intellectual peers for gifted learners. A win-win scenario for students and teachers.

    In our area, I see many more boys than girls being held back. While "maturity" is usually cited, it really seems like "larger for sports" is a big concern, with a thought that academics will be better coming second.
    I see this as well. Despite potential causal relationship between sports related concussion and brain damage, some in society want certain team sports. For others this may be reminiscent of brutal "entertainment" throughout history, providing a fight to the death: coliseum, gladiators, knights.

    While there may always be red-shirting, and it may be an appropriate choice for some children, the wide-spread endorsement of the practice (not the practice itself) may come into question: To the degree that red-shirting is so prevalent that it may influence decisions not to provide a grade-skip to other children, red-shirting may be detrimental. When school policy/practice does not support the academic/intellectual growth of a student to progress at their demonstrated comfortable learning pace but focuses on demographic characteristics such as age (which at best is a proxy for statistical "average" of development), students have lost their individualism and are being educated without regard to their personhood; It may be wise to question the direction and motivation of the educational system.

    Red-shirting does not create a "gifted" child.

    Rather than getting bogged down by focusing on paths others have taken, parents of gifted children may wish to band together with a voice that seeks appropriate academic/intellectual curriculum and pacing for the gifted.

    Because many participants on forums may not be familiar with other systems, it may be difficult to consider a viewpoint other than the educational system with which one is familiar. Here is one small tidbit: Singapore is rated as one of the freest economies, and one of the least corrupt governments of the world. Some may see its growth, in part, as fruit of its educational system. An educational system which nurtures gifted. While not holding up Singapore as a panacea, its Gifted Education Programme (GEP) may offer some ideas worth adopting.

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