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Kindergarten Readiness and Academic Performance

Kindergarten Readiness and Academic Performance

November 2022

Authors: Anna Johnson and Jaymi Thibault

Full Report

The Tennessee Comptroller’s Office of Research and Education Accountability has released a new report on kindergarten readiness and academic performance. In response to a legislative request, OREA explored a possible correlation between a child’s age when he or she begins kindergarten and his or her performance in 3rd grade on measures of literacy.

OREA found that students who enrolled in kindergarten older than their peers performed better on 3rd grade literacy tests. On average, 41 percent of students aged 5.5 to 5.9 years old and 42 percent of students aged 6 to 6.49 were proficient in 3rd grade literacy. These rates are higher than the proficiency rates for younger age groups; 33 percent of students aged 4.5 to 4.9 at kindergarten enrollment and 35 percent of students aged 5 to 5.49 were proficient in 3rd grade literacy. This trend of older students outperforming their younger peers continued past 3rd grade as measured by students’ later performance on 6th grade ELA tests.

More extensive research should precede any state or district policy changes regarding kindergarten enrollment requirements. Parents may use the information contained in OREA’s brief to help determine the appropriate age for their child to begin kindergarten, and schools may use it to tailor services or adjust curriculum accordingly.