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    #240980 - 01/11/18 02:58 PM school entrance age and achievement testing
    tomeastcoast Offline
    Junior Member

    Registered: 01/10/18
    Posts: 2

    After doing some searching, I found many conversations about redshirting on this forum. However, I could not find conversations about school entrants who are simply older or younger than the average by some months.

    I have noticed a trend with my two children. Neither has been diagnosed with any attention disorder and neither has been IQ tested. My eldest was an older entrant into kindergarten, about 5 months older than average. My youngest was a younger entrant in kindergarten. On achievement tests like our state test and Iowa Assessments, my eldest, now in 5th grade, has consistently scored in the qualifying range for our district's gifted program. My youngest generally scores below the 35th percentile on grade level achievement tests. Could this be due to the age differential between them? I imagine siblings should score somewhat similarly. It also seems reasonable that students older or younger for their grade by many months will score higher or lower respectively. I can see how being a year older than average (traditional redshirt) would provide test advantages, but would advantages or handicaps be pronounced with children who are 4-5 months older or younger than average?

    I am interested in discussing this with the school, but I want to see if this community can hone my questions and thought process.

    #240985 - 01/12/18 01:31 PM Re: school entrance age and achievement testing [Re: tomeastcoast]
    RRD Offline

    Registered: 02/04/16
    Posts: 278
    Achievement tests and IQ/psychoeducational tests are entirely different, from what I understand.

    So while your two children might score very differently on the former, they might score quite similarly on the latter.

    And lower achievement scores do not necessarily translate to lower IQ. Apparently, gifted kids often do not achieve as well in school as you might think they should.

    Our situation is a bit of a case in point: DS8 has tested as MG but his marks in school (grade 3) would really not be indicative of giftedness. By way of contrast, we haven't had DS6 tested but his results in grade 1 are excellent across the board and his teacher constantly lavishes praise on him. Age at admission seems to be rather irrelevant for both.

    So in other words, it's hard to know just from the achievement tests. I think. But I'm just a parent with very limited knowledge in this respect (other than what I've read on here). Hopefully others will chime in. smile

    #240986 - 01/12/18 01:52 PM Re: school entrance age and achievement testing [Re: tomeastcoast]
    Portia Offline

    Registered: 03/17/13
    Posts: 1700
    Certain achievement tests will factor in the child's age as well as grade. I do not remember if the Iowa does this or not. It's been a while.

    Consistently scoring below 35%ile would make me wonder as well. A lower achievement score like what you are describing could indicate an area of struggle. Particularly if the IQ does not really mesh with that level of achievement.

    Another thing about achievement is the tests are knowledge based. So older children could have an advantage if the extra time was spent exposing the child to academics or culture. But it really rests more with exposure than with age. For example, a younger child that is read to consistently will likely score higher in reading comprehension or vocabulary than a child that rarely has the same opportunity.

    I would look into the subtests to see if you find a pattern or if you notice anything different in real life. If you are comfortable posting subset scores here, we can take a look and see if we notice anything as a group that you could research.

    #240987 - 01/12/18 02:46 PM Re: school entrance age and achievement testing [Re: tomeastcoast]
    tomeastcoast Offline
    Junior Member

    Registered: 01/10/18
    Posts: 2
    Thank you for your responses! I agree that older students would have more exposure. I am also concerned that older students are simply more physiologically developed than younger students. My concern is that failure to factor in month level age differences would be a major flaw in any achievement test. Surely the research shows statistically significant advantages/disadvantages for older/younger children, even if the difference is 4 or 5 months.

    If my children were to be IQ tested for admission to our district's gifted program, they both might have qualifying scores, but only my eldest would gain admittance because his achievement scores are also at the qualifying levels. Frustrating.

    I am not familiar with the tests that do factor in age. I have never seen an instance of such tests given my limited experience. I cannot image that it be difficult to do this though! It even seems intuitive that this should be the norm! The Iowa test presents percentiles that compare the student to the entire grade. Test publishers could simply divide students into age groups...say quartiles... and then the test report could say something like: Your child is at the 99th percentile for all first graders...your child falls into the oldest quartile for first graders and scores 90th percentile for this quartile.

    #240989 - 01/12/18 03:35 PM Re: school entrance age and achievement testing [Re: tomeastcoast]
    aeh Offline

    Registered: 04/26/14
    Posts: 3249
    Age could have an impact on achievement tests like your state testing and Iowas, depending on which norms they choose to report. State tests are almost certainly normed by grade, without consideration given to age of student. While the CogAT should be scored by age norms, the achievement tests are grade-based.

    The range of difference you report, however, is considerably larger than what one could reasonably ascribe solely to differences in age. You are describing what appears to be a child who is relatively 8-9 months older compared to their norm group than the second child, but performs more than a year ahead academically. Though conceivably this could be the combined effects of siblings typically being within 10 IQ points of each other (so say 110 vs 120) and age, with the higher ability sib being a little older, and the other being a little younger, which might possibly create just enough of a synergy such that the first scores in the GT ID range, while the other scores in the average range (which is what 35th %ile is).

    I think we haven't seen enough data to interpret these results with a high degree of confidence.

    #241000 - 01/18/18 02:38 PM Re: school entrance age and achievement testing [Re: tomeastcoast]
    aeh Offline

    Registered: 04/26/14
    Posts: 3249
    It is certainly not an insurmountable technical challenge to develop age-based norms for achievement tests. (In fact, nearly all of the reputable individually-administered achievement tests have such norms.) However, there is a perspective that finds that comparing students to the peer group that has received the same instruction is more equitable, and a more accurate reflection of level and rate of academic learning. I agree that doing so introduces possible inequities in the selection process, but using age norms can too, if one assumes that some younger students will perform less successfully simply because of more limited exposure to content and direct instruction in skills. Or that some students who are old for grade will perform less well on age-norms because they have received less extensive instruction than their age- and ability-peers who happen to have been placed into a higher grade level (e.g., in states where age-of-entry varies from district to district, a transfer student from a district with a later cutoff into a district with an earlier cutoff may end up a grade ahead of a same-age peer).

    There really is no perfect solution for students on the cusp.

    #241425 - 02/23/18 06:41 PM Re: school entrance age and achievement testing [Re: tomeastcoast]
    Quantum2003 Offline

    Registered: 02/08/11
    Posts: 1425
    It doesn't make sense to measure achievement based on small age differences as a class of 25 to 30 students are never separated into small groups based on their birthdays. Should we even expect or want teachers to memorize each student's birthday? My kids are on the younger end for grade. I think achievement scores need to be grade-based rather than age-based because our students are sorted by grade into a specific classroom and sometimes sorted by their achievement levels into small groups within a single grade/classroom.


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