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Changing the Kindergarten Cutoff Date: Effects on California Students and Schools

Summary

California has one of the latest kindergarten entry cutoff dates in the nation, December 2, which effectively allows children as young as four years, nine months to enter kindergarten. Proponents of moving the cutoff date to earlier in the year contend that children who enter kindergarten before age five are not developmentally mature enough yet for school, and that entering at an older age should improve academic performance. The authors examine 14 recent studies on the short- and long-term effects of entering kindergarten at an older age, and their review suggests that moving California’s entry age would likely have a number of benefits, including boosting student achievement test scores. But it may also have the potential to increase the achievement gap among certain student subgroups.
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