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Autumn Children

Posted: Fri May 10, 2013 9:01 am
Lucky autumn children 'should be docked marks to make exams fair'

Children born in September should have to get higher marks to obtain top grades to compensate for their strong performance in tests and exams, according to an influential study.

The report by the Institute for Fiscal Studies (IFS) says children born at the start of the school year in September fare better in national curriculum tests, 11-plus tests and GCSE exams than those born in August – who are 11 months younger when the exams are taken. ... 10094.html

Re: Autumn Children

Posted: Fri May 10, 2013 9:17 am
by JAC
Didn't the old 11+ weight marks or age? pretty sure it did.

Re: Autumn Children

Posted: Fri May 10, 2013 5:14 pm
by Kiki
JAC wrote:Didn't the old 11+ weight marks or age? pretty sure it did.

Most 11 + test DO standardize which isn't quite the same. Usually it works something like this: all children born in September are compared to all other children born in September etc through the months. Because there is a real Summer born effect the real score needed to reach the standardized pass marl tends to be a bit lower for each subsequent birth month. So the Sept born children might need a real score of 72 to pass while an August born child might have need only 67.

I believe what they are talking about here is that something similar should be applied to many more exams, including GCSEs.

Re: Autumn Children

Posted: Sat May 11, 2013 11:36 pm
by JAC
Thanks for the clarification Kiki.
In my early teaching days in ILEA, my school staggered the entry into Reception. depending on birthday. It meant that some children had three full years in the 'infants' before they moved on to the juniors, whilst others might have a bare two years. I once had sisters 11 months apart who moved through juniors, then secondary in the same class, one having had a full year extra in the infants, the very period of time when it makes a critical difference.
I'd like to think something would come of this study to even up the odds a little. Many parents are fully aware of the poorer chances of the summer-born and some try to delay school entry because of this.
Here in Western Australia, a few years back, we increased the school starting age of children by 6 months, but there is still the differential. There is also a reluctance in my state to be flexible with children who are both young and struggling, and allowing them to start later, or repeat a year.

Re: Autumn Children

Posted: Sun May 12, 2013 9:23 am
by Kiki
It is very difficult here to delay entry and IF you are successful your child may be forced back into the 'correct' year for secondary school especially as you education legislation specifies age of compulsory education not years or length of or attainment.

Several European countries that I am a little familiar with allow parents of children born on the cusp of the academic year cut-off some latitude to decide what is best for the child. If the decision is to delay then the child stays in that year for the rest of their academic career.

Re: Autumn Children

Posted: Sun May 12, 2013 4:46 pm
by volunteer
I think some English schools that have all children full-time for the the whole of the reception year find that they have eliminated any significant statistical differences between the September born and the August born children by the end of the school year. Other schools do not find this. It would be interesting to compare and contrast the practice in schools that feel they have evened things out by the end of the year with those that don't.

All children have the right now to go full time from the start of the reception year (that is relatively new - it used to be left up to the school whether or not they did a bit of part-time etc for the younger ones), but the parents can choose to do a bit of part-time etc if they wish, and of course children are not of compulsory school age until the term after their 5th birthday.

Re: Autumn Children

Posted: Wed May 22, 2013 8:33 am
In-school ability grouping and the month
of birth effect: Preliminary evidence from
the Millennium Cohort Study

This paper lays out a hypothesis that ability grouping in early primary school may be
instrumental in creating the heavily evidenced ‘month of birth effect’, where relatively
younger pupils within each school year group are disadvantaged, academically and extraacademically,
compared to their relatively older peers.
Using data from the Millennium Cohort Study (MCS), analysis examines the prevalence of
ability grouping practices among 5,481 English sample children, who were aged seven and
in year two in 2008. It investigates the extent to which reported grouping practices co-occur
and demonstrates associations between placement levels where pupils are grouped
according to more than one practice. It illustrates the proportions of sample children born in
each month placed at each ability grouping level, and explores whether between-month
differences are more pronounced according to certain grouping practices.
Main findings include indications that:
 17.8 per cent of sample children are streamed within their year1
 31.2 per cent are literacy set within their year
 37.5 per cent are numeracy set within their year
 78.8 per cent are ability grouped in class for most or all teaching
 87.2 per cent are grouped in class for literacy teaching
 85.5 per cent are grouped in class for numeracy teaching
 Many children are subject to at least two co-occurring ability grouping practices. For
example, 83.9 per cent of those who are streamed are also ability grouped in class,
and 34.9 per cent of those who are ability grouped in class are also set within their
year for numeracy.
 There is a high level of correspondence between ability group levels when a pupil is
subject to more than one practice. For example, 92.6 per cent of pupils who are in
the highest stream are also in the highest literacy set, when also literacy set; 88.6 per
cent of pupils who are in the lowest stream are also in the lowest literacy set, when
also literacy set.
 Across all practices, there is a pronounced and consistent tendency for relatively
older pupils in a school year to be placed in the highest stream, set, or group. The
inverse is the case for placement at the middle and lowest levels. For example,
children born in September are more than twice as likely to be in the highest stream
as those born in August. August-born pupils are more than twice as likely to be in the
lowest in-class group as September-borns.
 This pattern is most pronounced according to the practice of streaming, and least
pronounced (though still very apparent) according to the practice of in-class grouping
for numeracy.
The paper also briefly reviews the literature on in-school ability grouping and pupil
attainment. It proposes a theoretical model where the evidenced disproportionalities in group
1 All statistics reported in this summary use unweighted data. The main paper illustrates and discusses, for
comparison, some figures weighted for initial sample design; these weighted figures vary only minimally from
unweighted analyses.
placement according to birth month may play out in eventual attainment variation through
channels such as:
 ability group-dependent pupil perceptions and behaviours;
 ability group-dependent teacher perceptions and behaviours;
 educational opportunities differentiated according to ability group placement level.
The 5,481 Millennium Cohort sample pupils are compared to the English schools population
in 2008, and sufficient similarity is found to justify generalisability. The paper therefore
argues that early ability grouping is key to the month of birth effect, and describes planned
future analyses which will continue to test the proposal.