Being one of the older ones in the year group gives children an advantage in school, a new US study published in the National Bureau of Economic Research has found.
Scientists looked at the cognitive development of more than 1.2 million public school students in Florida between the ages of six and 15, all of whom were born in different months.
They found that students born in the month of September, putting them at the older end of the spectrum of kids in their school year, boasted a higher yearly score average than those born in August, who would be the youngest in their year group.
Researchers noted that the increased scores could build over time and subsequently increase September-born students’ likelihood of getting into a good college.
The study, titled “School Starting Age and Cognitive Development,” also looked at other socioeconomic factors that might contribute to a child’s progression in school, such as maternal education, ethnicity and affluence.
They also noted that low-performing students from varying backgrounds can catch up before formal testing begins at a later age.
For example, some parents may choose to hold their children back a year, whereas others might enrol them in special programmes which support students who are struggling academically.
The study’s authors also analysed data from youth detention centres in a large Florida school district.
Not only did they find that being one of the older children in a year group boosts college attainment, but they also found that it reduces the likelihood of a child’s incarceration for juvenile crimes.
September-born kids for the win.