What is the deal with school cut-off ages?
I was born during the summer. So in school, I was always sort of in the middle in terms of my age. People born in January through June were older than me, and people born in September through December were younger than me. I think this was a universal thing because there was some study saying kids who were born in January or February were better in sports and school because they were the oldest and biggest kids.
Now it seems like the cut-off has changed though. In a lot of places it's September, so I would have actually been one of the oldest kids in the class with my summer birthday.
Something about this bothers me, and not just because it screws over people who plotted to have a January baby to ensure their child's success in school and sports.
I guess no matter what, there are going to be kids who are nearly a whole year older than other kids, but I feel like basing it strictly on chronological age isn't entirely fair. A kid who's really physically large and academically advanced shouldn't necessarily have to wait an extra year to start school just because they were born in July.
No Fizzy. You would have been one of the youngest.ReplyDelete
Oh yeah. Well, either way, I wouldn't be in the middle.Delete
Cutoffs have to be somewhere and some parents red shirt their kid for a year so they are biggerReplyDelete
I was born in July (37 years ago) and was pretty much always the youngest in my class.ReplyDelete
But cutoffs must be somewhere, and making them equal for everybody avoids further controversy.ReplyDelete
Anyway, as someone born in the end of november, I was always among the youngest in my class. I had never any problem with that, not in sports, not in class. That september change would have affected me more than most kids, since it would have put me one year behind. That would have meant for me, that now, at 23, I wouldn't be in my final year of med school, but in my 5th, so I would finish college almost at 25... brrrrrrrrrrrr HORROR.
Meaning, that january kids end every school year at, for instance 10 and a half. But with the september cutoff, october kids would finish the school year at almost 11. I think the january cutoff is more of a middle ground.
To me, the January cut-off seems more intuitive somehow because it's halfway through the school year, but maybe that's just because it's how I grew up.Delete
Well, I completely agree, I had never thought about it much, it just seems natural :)Delete
Our school system's cut-off was September 1. Meaning you had to be born on or before Aug 31, making me one of the youngest in my class (Aug 17th).ReplyDelete
Because of my late August birthday, the school system in Rochester, MN wanted to hold me back. The teachers tested me in English, math, and art (yes, seriously).
I drew (at 4) an oval instead of a good circle, knew numbers and the alphabet.
Because of that stupid oval, the school district was going to keep me out despite that I've have been 5 when school started on Sept 3. My parents complained, I started school just like every other 5 year old.
And I kicked everyone's collective ass. :) (and I still can't draw stick people)
That's pretty ridiculous that they wanted to hold you back because you didn't draw a good enough circle. I'm in my 30s and I still can't draw good circles. Guess I should still be waiting to start kindergarten!Delete
I think there were a couple of kids with October birthdays in my class, but they were considered VERY young, and they were very small compared to the other kids. Most kids with November birthdays were held back a year (especially if they weren't academically strong to begin with) even if they could have started kindergarten a year earlier. I remember they seemed very old and advanced in kindergarten, but by the time we all got to 6th grade things had evened out, and they were still mediocre academically.ReplyDelete
The cutoff in most schools I've been to has been early September. I was born at the end of September. My parents wanted to start me in kindergarten the year I turned 5, so I would have been 4 for a month when I started. Apparently a bunch of the public schools threw a fit, so I ended up going to Catholic school for a few years before I got transitioned back to public school. That made me one of the youngest people in my class. In high school, I had someone more than a year older than me in class with me (born mid-September), and someone slightly older than me in the class below me (also born mid-September). I only had a handful of classmates who were younger than me, and most of them were so because they skipped a grade somewhere along the line.ReplyDelete
So, when I graduated college in only 3 years, I was one of the youngest in my class by far (I was 20 when I graduated). I would have easily been the youngest had I started medical school right away. But I waited 2 years and started at age 22 instead, which put me right back on target with the majority of the people coming straight out of college. So while I identify more with the other people who took time off or came to medical school as a second career, I'm the same age as the people who went the 'traditional' route. It's odd.
I was born in november and was one of the youngest kids in my year... never had a problem academically keeping up with anyone, plus skipped a year of college and went on to med school. There were definitely older kids in my grade that were academically WAY behind where they needed to be.. some who ended up being held back even further. It really depends on the kid... maybe it's time for education paradigms to shift and grade be divided by ability and performance instead of so strictly by age? Just a thought.ReplyDelete
My school system's cutoff was sometime in the beginning December. But when I went to undergrad, other people said their cutoff was around September (it was either September or earlier like July).ReplyDelete
There was a boy who had a fall birthday and therefore when college started in August he was still 17. Some people thought that was weird because in their school system he would have been moved back a grade and therefore when he entered college he would have been 18.
I have an October birthday, and while I was never a particularly athletic kid, I was always towards the top of the class academically and more mature than most of my classmates. Our cutoff was also the end of December, but many parents of kids with fall birthdays would choose to keep them back another year before they started. For me, another year of preschool really would not have accomplished anything other than me being really stir crazy and driving my mom nuts. I think it's definitely a case-by-case decision, and letting parents choose or evaluating kids with later birthdays is a good idea.ReplyDelete
I know there are studies out there that show that kids who start kindergarten younger have more challenges. My girls are 8 and 9, and my youngest was almost a year older than some of the kids in her kindergarten class (she turned 6 in January of her kindergarten year; the youngest kid in her class turned 5 the November before). That's a big difference to a little kid!ReplyDelete
I have a friend who started college in 17 and didn't turn 18 until November. She did FINE academically, but I remember she had to get her parents to sign a permission slip so she could go on a retreat that our college held. She also wasn't old enough to go to the bar or the casinos. Not a big deal now, but it was at the time!
I wouldn't mind being a year younger now, but my senior year of college would have been much less fun if I'd been 20 instead of 21.Delete
My son is in private school so he could start early, as he was on the wrong side of the cut-off.ReplyDelete
Incidentally, there are studies that show that gifted kids do better academically and socially when they skip grades.
I'm glad I read the comments before responding because I was really confused for awhile. I have only known a Sept 1st cut off for school and did not know that some states use January 1.ReplyDelete
My birthday is December 23rd. When my mom wanted to enroll me in first grade at a private parochial school at age 5 yr, one of the nuns talked with me for a while and decided that I would do fine, even though I never went to kindy. Of course, I had no siblings, so I think I missed a lot of important kindy lessons like sharing and sitting still and not talking out of turn, but somehow, it all worked out okay academically.
Socially, things were not so easy as one of the youngest in the class. Everyone else got to experience those little tastes of freedom (like a driver's license) before I did and I always felt a little socially awkward.
I graduated high school from the same private parochial school at age 17 and headed for a state U in the middle of a large city. Let's just say that this was the biggest culture shock of my short life. Again, it all worked out all right, but to be honest, I think I carried a touch of that social immaturity with me into adulthood. Tricia
I think it really depends on the child - I was a very shy child, and quite small, I slipped in just under the cut-off so I was pretty much the youngest in my class (there was one girl who was a day younger than I was). I was also put into french immersion. School was terrifying for me, gym class especially since everybody was so much bigger and more agressive than me, I hated it. It didn't go well, and I ended up staying back a year in grade 2 and went from being the youngest to being the oldest. It was pretty hard to deal with all of the teasing that went with being held back, but I started being able to keep up academically and physically, although I didn't start to excel until junior high in anything but math. I ended up graduating high school and university with first class honours, and now have a PhD in engineering, so everything has turned out alright. As a child, though, I was so stressed I had ulcers - I think I would have more self confidence now if I had started school a year later.ReplyDelete
I'm not sure what happened to the girl who was a day younger than me, but I think she handeled it better than I did.
There are some parents who intentionally keep their kids out of school and start them when they are older. That way they can be at the head of their kindergarten class. There is some “research” that shows this can benefit kids throughout school and their lives. In this mega competitive society it is sad that this is what it has come down to…ReplyDelete
I was the youngest always starting first grade at 5 1/2 when most kids are in kindergarden. Academically Ok, socially ok. But, I think I would have been more confident socially if I had been older. I don't think that there is an easy answer for this. I was 100% ready for school and needed the stimulation. My nephew is in a classroom with 2 grades in 1. They get to go up and down within each year. Perhaps, that fluidity is better for kids.ReplyDelete
Here in Oregon - cut off is October
In New Zealand, children start kindy at age 3; it's not compulsory, but it seemed to me that most children attended, at least by the time they are 4. All children start First grade on their 5th birthday, whenever that occurs in the year! It is an interesting dynamic as kids really look forward to that day. The first two years of school are J1 and J2. In theory. the children move from J1 to J2 and then start standard grades. In reality, J1 and J2 are mixed classrooms with the kids moving through each at their own rate. For example, a child might be in the J1 group for math, but J2 for language arts. None of the children seem to be aware of the differing skills among them and somehow, it all works out so that the children are ready for the standard school by age 7. We thought it was a great system.Delete
The J1 and J2 classes are not just a continuation of kindy, either. After my 6-year old's first week in school, the teacher pulled me aside and whispered confidentially, "I am very concerned that your child does not know how to write a story!"
Um. She's 6. Tricia
Here the cutoff is the 31st december/1st of January (everyone born in say 2000 is in the same year at school). But the system works so that being held back is very common (and not just in kindergarten, all through school, though it's not seen as something positive by parents, because it means you failed). So much so that by the school leaving age (18) about 30% of girls and 40% of boys have been held back at least once. What this meant was for me (late september) was that in my little primary school, I was one of the youngest because of the cut off date (and through fluke, that there weren't many kids born later in the year in my class). The oldest kid was the one born in the beginning of February the year before, more than a year and a half older than me. I don't remember the age difference ever being a problem.ReplyDelete