It has been estimated by Stanford professor Sean Reardon that between 4 percent and 5.5 percent of students begin school a year late. Research has largely shown that the effects of redshirting on academics are positive, with older students likely to score higher on standardized tests than their younger classmates. One recent study by Northwestern University’s David Figlio indicated that later school entry was associated with higher rates of college attendance and graduation, as well as a lower likelihood of incarceration.
The report indicated that there is a persistent economic and racial achievement gap in California that well surpasses the national average. While students in affluent areas in California match the average performance of students in affluent areas nationwide, students in low-income California districts are scoring an average of a full grade level behind low-income students in other states.
“We’re not failing our rich kids,” said Sean Reardon, professor at the GSE and researcher in the study. “We’re not, as a state, providing as much educational opportunity for our low- and middle-income communities and kids.”
About a third of the 25 districts with the widest achievement disparities between white and black students are in or near college towns, according to a review of data compiled by researchers at Stanford University. Affluent families in university towns invest a large proportion of their resources in their children’s education, said Sean Reardon, a professor of education at Stanford.
Stanford University endowed Professor of Poverty and Inequality in Education joins Research Minutes to talk about his study Recent Trends in Income, Racial, and Ethnic School Readiness Gaps at Kindergarten Entry with CPRE –UPenn researcher, Ryan Fink. Reardon's study was recently published in American Educational Research Association's OPEN journal. Reardon analyzes school readiness trends through lenses of several demographic differences and factors.
Important recent work by Reardon and his collaborators shows that not only test scores but also racial test score gaps vary dramatically across American school districts. In this latter paper, Reardon and coauthors report that while racial/ethnic test score gaps average around 0.6 standard deviations across all school districts, in some districts the gaps are almost nonexistent while in others they exceed 1.2 standard deviations.
The researchers, including Richard Murnane of Harvard and Sean Reardon of Stanford, studied private school enrollment trends between 1968 and 2013. They estimate the proportion of students enrolled… at the 10th, 50th, and 90th percentiles of the income distribution, which they refer to as low-, middle-, and high-income.
For the past half century, roughly one in 10 U.S. families has chosen to enroll their children in private school. The reasons behind these decisions are as individual as families themselves: some may perceive the quality of education to be better at a private school than their neighborhood school, some may wish to continue a family tradition or be motivated by religious beliefs, and others may seek specialized programs for a child with a particular interest or learning challenge.
“We set out saying that some districts are going to have more stereotypical gender achievement gaps—larger math gaps favoring boys, larger reading gaps favoring girls—and others that are maybe less stereotypical,” said Erin Fahle, who co-authored the study and earns her Ph.D. in education policy from Stanford this month. “Instead what we found was that districts tend to advantage boys or advantage girls.”