The relationship of age and gender of elementary school children to academic achievement

Dori Barca, Pace University


Each year parents around the United States, and in countries around the world, make important decisions concerning their children's education. One of the decisions concerns the appropriate time to start their child's formal education. In the psychological and educational literature, the age that a child begins school is often referred to as age of entry. Previous research is mixed concerning the long-term relationship of age and gender to academic achievement. This study examines the relationship among these variables by posing four hypotheses: (1) age of entry into first grade will correlate positively with academic achievement with older ages associated with higher achievement, (2) age will have a stronger correlation with overall academic achievement during the earlier versus later grades, (3) the relationship of age to academic achievement will be influenced by gender, with boys performing more poorly than girls, and (4) the relationship among these three variables will diminish over time as children become older. These hypotheses were examined using archival data containing children's achievement scores in first through sixth grades. Results indicate that age of entry into first grade is not related to academic achievement. Gender is a moderating factor, only in sixth grade, for the relationship between age and academic achievement. Associations were not found among age, gender, and academic achievement for grades first through fifth. These results indicate that age may not be an important factor when making determinations about children's abilities to handle school-related academic demands.

Subject Area

Developmental psychology|Educational psychology|Elementary education

Recommended Citation

Barca, Dori, "The relationship of age and gender of elementary school children to academic achievement" (2003). ETD Collection for Pace University. AAI3095127.



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