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

    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)

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

    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.

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

    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.

    http://www.newyorker.com/tech/elements/youngest-kid-smartest-kid

    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.

    http://www.du.edu/marsicoinstitute/policy/Does_Retention_Help_Struggling_Learners_No.pdf

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

    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.)

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

    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.

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

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

    This is another summary of some of the research.

    http://www.wcer.wisc.edu/news/coverStories/pros_cons_holding_out.php

    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.

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

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

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

    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).

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

    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.

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

    Registered: 04/27/13
    Posts: 4954
    Quote:
    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.

    Quote:
    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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    #197603 - 08/01/14 09:04 AM Re: Age grouping [Re: ConnectingDots]
    notnafnaf Offline
    Member

    Registered: 04/07/14
    Posts: 199
    Where I have struggled with and where I seen regrets from my mother is when the child is right at the age cutoff... either be the youngest or oldest. My sister was the youngest with the age cutoff being the day after her birthday, and my mother still struggles 20+ years later if that was the right decision. They ended up putting her into all girls school for middle school because that was when the age difference was felt the most, especially on the social and emotional maturity levels. My mother herself was sent to school 2 years younger than most of her class... and she does not believe that was a good move for her because she felt so out of sync - not academically, but in every other respect - as her friends all the way through high school.

    Before our kids were born, we were thinking if they missed the cutoff, we would not contest it (they missed it by a day or two)... but that has completely changed due to the issues we see already at 3/4 years with DS being too bored and unable to relate to age peers - instead, he rather hang out with the older kids or adults. Our next door neighbors have 3 boys - one his age and two older, and he tends to drift towards the older boys there too.

    The giftedness did throw us for a loop and caused us to completely revise our plans. And so we now have to go through the private school route with both kids to avoid the strict enforcement of the age cutoff that would hold them back just because of when their birthday is.

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    #197605 - 08/01/14 11:51 AM Re: Age grouping [Re: ConnectingDots]
    bluemagic Offline
    Member

    Registered: 03/29/13
    Posts: 1489
    The complex part of this issue is K cutoff dates. I did not hold my older DD back and wish I did. On the other hand if she had lived in most other areas of the country she would have had to spend another year in preschool. I sent her to college still only 17. What added to the problem was everyone else who was holding their children back. On the other hand my DS could have easily skipped K. And I have seen some very frustrated and bored HS seniors who had been held back.

    Personally I think this whole idea that every kid should be learning in lock step according to their age is frustrating. But iif you are going to make age distinctions you should make everyone stick to them because maturity and ability are all over the map.

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    #197614 - 08/01/14 01:40 PM Re: Age grouping [Re: ConnectingDots]
    cmguy Offline
    Member

    Registered: 03/30/14
    Posts: 387
    Questions202 I share your frustration with a school system that handles kids assembly line style like they were widgets in a factory instead of individuals.

    We won't use our (highly rated) public school system for that reason (that and DS would probably not get a lot out of 3 consecutive years of kindergarten - and the classes are too big and we worry about him getting bullied too).

    Off topic but a really great safe exercise to get stronger is sled pushing. I have my kids do it at home with laundry baskets (we put stuff in rectangular baskets to make it heavier and have them push it around on carpeted floor like engines shunting freight cars - it helps make them tired too). NFL players, sprinters and lots of other athletes do this.

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    #197615 - 08/01/14 01:45 PM Re: Age grouping [Re: master of none]
    puffin Offline
    Member

    Registered: 12/11/12
    Posts: 2035
    It is like any system there are always a few who have less the pure motives most are just doing the best they can (think social welfare).

    We don't have red shirting. You start school any time from the day you turn 5 (99.9% would start the first school day after their fifth birthday) until the day you turn six. You are put in a class according to your birthdate - if you start at six you get put in the classyou would have been in if you started at five unless there is a particular reason not to that the school agreed with. But our five year olds don't spend much time learning letters as they are supposed to be reading at level 12 to 14 after 12 months at school.

    It seems to me if sports were organised by age not grade parents would not err on the side of caution so much. I do think still being at school at 19 is not a good thing.

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    #197617 - 08/01/14 02:13 PM Re: Age grouping [Re: ConnectingDots]
    mountainmom2011 Offline
    Member

    Registered: 01/05/12
    Posts: 404
    I may also delete later so please don't quote.

    I will also second that you shouldn't be quick to judge. I have two dds, the youngest was tested on the wisc as highly gifted. My oldest dd at this point has a high average iq but I question the accuracy of her testing.

    We found a way to hold our oldest dd back (late summer bday), she has dyslexia and dyscalculia. We didn't hold her back to get her into a gifted program, we held her back because she was already struggling and wanted her to not be as far behind her classmates. She still struggles but the gap isn't as severe between her and her classmates. She is very socially aware and anxious so I think she is less stressed to keep up. She is certainly not bored (nor at the top of her class) and we were lucky to get her an IEP despite the retention. I later learned of other kids in her class that are also old for grade (older than her even) and they also have learning disabilities. And fwiw I live in a pretty affluent area where the average kid is probably high average or advanced compared to national norms.

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    #197618 - 08/01/14 02:44 PM Re: Age grouping [Re: ConnectingDots]
    ConnectingDots Offline
    Member

    Registered: 09/06/13
    Posts: 848
    Please understand that my original post was not intended in any way to be judgemental. I am curious about how this has become so widespread... not in situations where there is a real physical, social or intellectual concern, but as common practice and wisdom. The forum I mentioned is likely representing primarily "NT" children and forty or fifty posters (in other words, all but the original poster, who was concerned about having to put a child through K twice for arbitrary age reasons) claimed that holding children back was the best thing a parent could ever do. I am in my 40s and do not recall this variation from my school days. It was really rare to have anyone older than 18 graduate and then there had usually been a retention involved. My state also had a late cutoff, Dec 1, so I started at four with a Nov. birthday, but my classmates were all within a year of my age.

    I am also a bit sensitive because in our area, it is very rare for a boy with a summer birthday (turning five in the summer) to enter K, no matter how academically ready and socially normal. This creates really large age gaps, which make any social gaffes very pronounced for younger children. It also affects park district sports, which are organized by grade, not age.


    Edited by ConnectingDots (08/01/14 05:47 PM)

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    #197619 - 08/01/14 02:46 PM Re: Age grouping [Re: ConnectingDots]
    blackcat Offline
    Member

    Registered: 05/23/13
    Posts: 2154
    In an ideal world, the best thing for kids with disabilities would actually be to be in school at the appropriate age WITH services so that they can get help. Or a 504 so accommodations can be made for weaknesses and they can still benefit from learning in other areas. Of course it doesn't necessarily work out that way. DS has developmental coordination disorder and has a winter birthday so when he should start was never really a question. He was right in the middle of the class in terms of age (towards the young end though, probably). He did struggle with things (the glue bottle and getting caps off markers, coloring and writing comes to mind), however school was like free OT. He was working on the things that he needed to work on, which wouldn't have happened nearly as much if I had kept him home for an extra year, taking him to private OT once per week. So instead of falling further behind for his age, he was able to gain some skills and climb the percentile chart for motor skills. If a disability is so severe that it is going to lead to nothing but frustration and failure, then things are different, but in that case the child should technically be receiving special ed and getting special services to gain needed skills. I can understand why it makes sense to hold back in some cases, but if schools were actually individualizing instruction to each child's needs it technically shouldn't need to happen, and kids with disabilities/delays wouldn't struggle needlessly in school.

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    #197620 - 08/01/14 03:32 PM Re: Age grouping [Re: ConnectingDots]
    22B Offline
    Member

    Registered: 02/10/13
    Posts: 1228
    Some people have given examples of why some people might choose to redshirt for the right reasons, but the OP was trying to understand why some people might choose to redshirt for the wrong reasons.

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    #197627 - 08/01/14 06:13 PM Re: Age grouping [Re: blackcat]
    aeh Offline
    Member

    Registered: 04/26/14
    Posts: 3987
    Originally Posted By: blackcat
    In an ideal world, the best thing for kids with disabilities would actually be to be in school at the appropriate age WITH services so that they can get help. Or a 504 so accommodations can be made for weaknesses and they can still benefit from learning in other areas. Of course it doesn't necessarily work out that way. DS has developmental coordination disorder and has a winter birthday so when he should start was never really a question. He was right in the middle of the class in terms of age (towards the young end though, probably). He did struggle with things (the glue bottle and getting caps off markers, coloring and writing comes to mind), however school was like free OT. He was working on the things that he needed to work on, which wouldn't have happened nearly as much if I had kept him home for an extra year, taking him to private OT once per week. So instead of falling further behind for his age, he was able to gain some skills and climb the percentile chart for motor skills. If a disability is so severe that it is going to lead to nothing but frustration and failure, then things are different, but in that case the child should technically be receiving special ed and getting special services to gain needed skills. I can understand why it makes sense to hold back in some cases, but if schools were actually individualizing instruction to each child's needs it technically shouldn't need to happen, and kids with disabilities/delays wouldn't struggle needlessly in school.

    Yes! This is how the system is supposed to work. I will always remember the student I had who was held out of kindergarten until age seven, because the parent thought you couldn't send a kid to school until they were toilet trained. This was the minimally-verbal, toe-walking, hand-flapping kid. Kind of an extreme example (and what pediatrician was seeing this kid annually without alarm bells going off?). But the point is, a lot of parents think kids need to be ready to go to school, when the point of preschool child find is to identify and remediate those kids who are not ready.
    _________________________
    ...pronounced like the long vowel and first letter of the alphabet...

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    #197629 - 08/01/14 06:56 PM Re: Age grouping [Re: ConnectingDots]
    DeeDee Offline
    Member

    Registered: 04/16/10
    Posts: 2498
    Don't get me started on preschool child find. It is certainly not well done here.

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    #197630 - 08/01/14 08:18 PM Re: Age grouping [Re: DeeDee]
    blackcat Offline
    Member

    Registered: 05/23/13
    Posts: 2154
    Originally Posted By: DeeDee
    Don't get me started on preschool child find. It is certainly not well done here.


    I took in DS right after he turned 3, and he did fine on all the cognitive/language tests, but not so much for the motor tests. But his overall score was average so they didn't do any follow-up testing or anything. The assessor told me to take him to a neurologist. Ok, so she could obviously see something wasn't quite right but they weren't going to do anything anyway to determine if there were any services he qualified for. All they cared about was one number. Waste of time. He is 2e and he slipped thru the cracks because of it.

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    #197632 - 08/02/14 04:57 AM Re: Age grouping [Re: blackcat]
    aeh Offline
    Member

    Registered: 04/26/14
    Posts: 3987
    Originally Posted By: blackcat
    Originally Posted By: DeeDee
    Don't get me started on preschool child find. It is certainly not well done here.


    I took in DS right after he turned 3, and he did fine on all the cognitive/language tests, but not so much for the motor tests. But his overall score was average so they didn't do any follow-up testing or anything. The assessor told me to take him to a neurologist. Ok, so she could obviously see something wasn't quite right but they weren't going to do anything anyway to determine if there were any services he qualified for. All they cared about was one number. Waste of time. He is 2e and he slipped thru the cracks because of it.

    I know you've had a particularly aggravating experience with the PSs, blackcat.

    Every time I hear about another bad experience someone here has had with child find, it just frustrates me, because that's -not- the way it's supposed to be. And it's also often not the way the professionals involved want to do it, either. Of course, there are unskilled or otherwise-motivated educators out there, but quite often, they are doing the best they can within the limits of their positions. Sometimes, they would actually like you to make some noise, so other decision-makers in the system will be forced to respond. It sounds like the evaluator who recommended a neuro eval may have been trying to do something like that, since if you came back with a medical Dx, the district would be forced to write an IFSP or IEP.

    And screening is not supposed to consist of one number. A deficit in any one of the big five areas of early childhood educational function is sufficient. That's why most of the preschool and kinder screeners have the same five domains. If there was only one number, then he was given the short screening version, but not the slightly longer eval version, which does not constitute a comprehensive eval.

    Anyway, didn't mean to hijack the thread, just to say that the reason for age cut-offs is actually to insure that delayed kids are caught earlier, and have an equal opportunity to be schooled. That it has become a rationale for withholding access to schooling is unfortunate. Probably reflects the lack of flexible developmental programming in our current kindergarten climate.
    _________________________
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    #197692 - 08/03/14 01:25 PM Re: Age grouping [Re: puffin]
    Tigerle Offline
    Member

    Registered: 07/29/14
    Posts: 602
    Loc: Europe
    Originally Posted By: puffin
    It is like any system there are always a few who have less the pure motives most are just doing the best they can (think social welfare).

    It seems to me if sports were organised by age not grade parents would not err on the side of caution so much. I do think still being at school at 19 is not a good thing.


    We live in Europe and all sports are organized by age, not grade. While kids still have to share PE class with the kids in their grade regardless of age, wherever there are standardized norms (swimming, athletics) kids are graded against age norms - so, being accelerated, I'd learn shot putting with everyone else in my class, then was the only one to still have to throw a ball for my grade, and for sports day I was always grouped with the kids from the grade below due to my year of birth.

    However, there is still red shirting, and it's getting worse. Recently, there was a ridiculous class at our local elementary where a whopping 11 out of 20 kids were redshirted, boys and girls, and none of them had actual delays, it was all for the "gift of another year" (a year in which, oddly, most of them had learned to read regardless, and were way ahead to the kids who started on time). A friends daughter with a June birthday, more than a year younger than most, struggled badly. Finally, she had to hold her daughter back a year in fifth grade, too.

    It skews the system, badly. I wish they'd ask for evaluations of kids who are held back and unless a child has an actual delay which can be expected to be remediate by the sheer passing of time rather than special ed services (preemies come to mind) either have them enter on time or put them in the higher grade where they ought to be.

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    #197693 - 08/03/14 02:09 PM Re: Age grouping [Re: Tigerle]
    bluemagic Offline
    Member

    Registered: 03/29/13
    Posts: 1489
    Originally Posted By: puffin
    It is like any system there are always a few who have less the pure motives most are just doing the best they can (think social welfare).

    It seems to me if sports were organised by age not grade parents would not err on the side of caution so much. I do think still being at school at 19 is not a good thing.

    Most youth sports that I know are organized by age not grade. All of the youth sports my child was in were organized by age. 8U with a cutoff around the beginning of the season or something like that. This was why my daughter was often in sports with kids who were a grade younger than her. She was on the youngish side and all these other kids were held back. Even in H.S. sports are only separated by grade in that you HAVE to be in H.S. to be on the teams are are mostly separated by ability. And the fact that often there is a freshman team. But if you are really young freshman maybe you wouldn't even get on the team, discouraging you from trying again next year because there are piles of 18 year olds on the team. And if you are a older senior you might be more likely to make the varsity team and be the star player?


    Edited by bluemagic (08/03/14 02:10 PM)

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    #197704 - 08/03/14 03:58 PM Re: Age grouping [Re: ConnectingDots]
    indigo Offline
    Member

    Registered: 04/27/13
    Posts: 4954
    There was a discussion thread about 2 years ago, when the TV show 60 minutes discussed redshirting.

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    #197709 - 08/03/14 04:44 PM Re: Age grouping [Re: ConnectingDots]
    DeeDee Offline
    Member

    Registered: 04/16/10
    Posts: 2498

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