Relationships between Kindergarten Entrance Age and Attendance Rates in Kindergarten through Second Grade
Date of Award
Doctor of Philosophy
Educational Leadership, Research and Technology
Dr. Patricia Reeves
Dr. Louann Bierlein Palmer
Dr. Lindsay Noakes
Kindergarten age, attendance rates, attendance, socioeconomic status
Education research over the last 50 years has found a significant relationship between academic achievement and kindergarten entrance age, with kindergarten students who enter school at the earliest ages tending to have lower academic achievement than their counterparts. Other studies have found that student achievement depends on factors such as class attendance rates and socioeconomic factors. Indeed, one issue consistently identified in education research as having a strong correlation to student achievement is student attendance, which makes intuitive sense because students must be present and engaged in school to learn. National research confirms that not only do attendance rates negatively impact student learning in the affected school year, but that students who are chronically absent as early as kindergarten have lower achievement in later grades as well.
Since there can be a wide age span for students entering kindergarten, there is reason to also examine the relationship between kindergarten age and attendance from the first year of K- 12 education. To date, however, little research was found regarding the relationship between kindergarten attendance rates as defined by the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA) and kindergarten entrance age. This may be due in part to the variations in the age of compulsory school attendance, which spans four years across the 50 states and the District of Columbia (National Center for Educational Statistics (NCES), 2018).
The present quantitative study employed a quantitative, ex post facto design approach using existing student attendance database information from a mid-sized, Midwestern, urban school district to determine if there was a relationship between the two variables of children’s age at kindergarten entrance and their attendance rate in each of grades Kindergarten through second grade. There were a total of 1,301 students covered within the data examined. Multiple linear regression and logistic regression analyses using Intellectus Statistics software determined that, when controlling for socioeconomic status, there was no relationship between the students’ kindergarten entrance age and their K-2 attendance rates. There was, however, a relationship between socioeconomic status and attendance rates in kindergarten and first grade, irrespective of age of kindergarten entrance. There was, however, a relationship between socioeconomic status and attendance rates in kindergarten and first grade, irrespective of age of kindergarten entrance. This finding has important implications for local districts in that it is important to study their attendance rates, which consistent with the national and state-level studies, indicate that attendance rates are concerning as early as kindergarten.
McDonald, Julie A., "Relationships between Kindergarten Entrance Age and Attendance Rates in Kindergarten through Second Grade" (2020). Dissertations. 3641.
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