The Birthday Effect: How Your Age Starting School Impacts On Achievement

  • Parents Only

By: Alex Harmon, ellaslist

To start school early or late, that's the question on many parent's lips right now. So, it might be interesting to take note of new research which suggests children who start school older have an acadamic and social advantage over their younger peers. An advantage that lasts well into adulthood. 

Australian researchers found that students who are relatively old compared to their classmates become more confident adults, are more willing to take risks and are slightly more likely to go to university.

How Did They Test This Theory?

To test this out, the Queensland University of Technology conducted two studies - one with high school students and another with more than 1000 Australian adults aged between 24 and 60 years old.

In the first study, more than 660 Year 8 and 9 students were surveyed about their tendency to take risks and feel confident.

In the second study, those born on both sides of the cut-off date for starting school were asked to complete online maths questions and rate their performance.

The older students displayed higher levels of confidence in their abilities, according to Dr Page.

They were also asked about the risks they took while driving, managing their finances, leisure activities and health, with older students displaying greater risk-taking tendencies.

While risk-taking can be considered a negative trait, Dr Page said it’s also a characteristic that helps successful people, including athletes, political leaders and entrepreneurs.

“People who take more risks can be more successful,” he said.

What Is The Latest I Can Send My Child? 

In NSW students must turn five by July 31, while in Victoria children must be five by April 30 of the year they start school. 

Find out more about the importance of school readiness in this article

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