December babies never really catch up: B.C. study

December babies never really catch up: B.C. study

From the Vancouver Sun, June 12, 2011

A significant number of children fall behind in school and never catch up, simply because they are the youngest and most immature in their kindergarten class, says a study released this week.

The study, which examined the achievement of thousands of B.C. students who entered kindergarten in 1995, found that December babies were 12 to 15 per cent less likely than their January counterparts to meet expectations in reading and numeracy in elementary grades and 12 per cent less likely to graduate on time in 2008.

That’s not only a disadvantage for individuals, but it may also be costly for taxpayers.

“If all students enjoyed the same rates of success as the January-born, an additional 1,700 students would graduate on time each year,” says the report titled Birthdate and Student Achievement: The Effects of School Grouping Practices in British Columbia. “This would represent a four per cent increase in the on-time graduation rate for the province and an annual saving of $14 million.”

Late birth dates had the greatest effect on aboriginal males — who were 19 per cent less likely than older aboriginal boys to reach Grade 10 within the expected time frame — followed by aboriginal girls and non-aboriginal boys. They had the least effect on non-aboriginal girls, says the report by Jerry Mussio of the consulting firm Mussio Associates Inc.

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