top of the class.

29 07 2010

I recently completed a research paper (no, I’m not in school – don’t ask) about the pitfalls of “gifted testing” at a young age (Kindergarten).

I got the idea for the paper from a book I read, Outliers by Malcolm Gladwell.

Gladwell discuses a principle called the “Matthew Effect“.

“For unto every one that hath shall be given, and he shall have abundance: but from him that hath not shall be taken away even that which he hath.” (Matthew 25:29)

Basically, those who have – get more.
Those who have not – lose more.

The basic premise runs like this; a child who has a head start at the beginning receives a practically continuous stream of help throughout his/her life that helps keep them ahead of their peers.

A child who is tested and found to be “gifted” at a young age receives special help so that they can progress faster. The same goes with the child who is bigger or faster. They are given special treatment by the coaches.

Well – the problem stems from the fact that gifted testing at such a young age does not actually find gifted students.
It finds students who are more mature or physically bigger than their peers.

The maturity and size come from age.

The birthday cutoff for some schools is September.

If a student is born August 27 they will be one of the youngest in their class.
If a student is born September 5, they will be near the older side of the spectrum.

At 5-6 years old that extra 10-12 months of growth and maturity can make a HUGE difference when it comes time to be tested for aptitude.

* Note – these are not cold hard facts. Rather they are broad research based conclusions. It does not mean that every single child born in September is better off than those born in August – but there is definitely a correlation between age and academic/athletic success.

So the dilemma is: When should you put your child in school?

Well, according to Gladwell, if you’d like to stack the odds in your child’s favor you should be leaning towards delivering your baby during the early fall. And if you should happen to have a summer baby, well, there’s no harm in waiting in extra year, right?

? Do you think there is a correlation between age and academic/athletic success?




3 responses

29 07 2010

Not sure…I’m an August baby and was always the youngest in my class but also in the “gifted” program and voted “most likely to succeed”! Maybe i’m just extra lucky…or maybe I work extra hard!

30 07 2010
Anthony Ambriz

I was in the Gifted Program too and was born August 31. What are you going to get me for my Birthday Kyle? Because I’m having a party and you’re invited.


I think there is a correlation. I was held back a year because of my birthday. I had to repeat Kindergarden twice. Then in 2nd grade I was given the opportunity to go to 3rd but they said no if he stays in 2nd he can help his peers. In 6th I tried to go to 7th but they said I was too small. When I graduated I was turning 19 that year. I then served my mission the year I was turning 20 and well… whatever math.

But this brings up an interesting topic. We’re going to put my little girl in a crawling competition but she’s 13 months almost 14. And is considered a Toddler so technically she’s suppose to compete in the walking competition with the other Toddlers. But she doesn’t walk very far yet…. so…there is a correlation.

What’s funny though is that I’m 27 and I’ll be graduating with my Bachelors when I’m 29. ha ha. I like school. I have 3 minors now!

30 07 2010

something interesting…it also depends on the gender as to whether or not you should have your child be younger or older than the rest of the class. if the boy is young, have them wait a year…just because when they go through puberty, they’ll go through it earlier than the other boys their age. research shows that boys who mature “younger” or quicker don’t feel as rejected. whereas, with girls, it’s the opposite. have them be the youngest. girls who go through puberty later feel better about themselves than girls who go through it early. for example, girls who go through it earlier tend to sleep around more at an earlier age…
something to think about.

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