A study of 10,000 Australian students, out of the Australian Catholic University, has found that children who are old for their grade enjoy a number of positive outcomes.

The children, who were tracked for a decade, were found to be more confident and to have a higher likelihood of enrolling at university compared to students who were young for their grade.

This study, which was published in the Journal of Educational Psychology, looked specifically at children who repeated a year at school. However, it follows from previous research that found positive effects of a child being old for their grade was the same for students who began school late or for those who repeated a grade.

Researcher Professor Herbert Marsh, from the ACU’s Institute of Positive Psychology and Education, said, “Being older in your class has advantages for your academic self-confidence.

“Self-beliefs are a driving force in young people’s academic decision-making processes. Numerous studies show that such self-beliefs predict educational aspirations,” he explained.

Older children are able to compare themselves more favourably to their younger peers, giving them greater self-confidence and therefore more chance of academic success.

In the paper, the researchers noted that when students are held back, or repeat a year parents and policy-makers often discuss the short-term effect on a child, be it shame or dismay. However, “from our perspective,” the study’s authors wrote, “the joy or shame that comes from acceleration or retention is likely to erode over time, whereas the ever-present comparison with same class peers becomes an indomitable influence in the way in which children come to view themselves academically.”

This article was written by Alys Gagnon and sourced from Kidspot (https://www.kidspot.com.au/school/preschool/school-readiness/undecided-about-holding-your-5yo-back-from-school-a-year-this-may-help/news-story/c8de686ac66296acbc9baeca18bfe1ed)