A new paper by Susan Dynarski, "The Lengthening of Childhood," has received attention from a number of media outlets.
The paper documents the historical shift in the percentage of six-year old children who are enrolled in first grade or above and explores the long-term consequences of "academic redshirting," or the practice of holding school-aged children back one grade-level from what they are eligible.
Dynarski and Deming find that academic redshirting provides at least a partial explanation for a number of long-term outcomes, including stagnation in the high school and college completion rates, rising gender gaps in high school graduation and college completion, and intensification of socioeconomic differences in educational attainment, since lower-income children are at greater risk of dropping out of school when they reach the legal age of school exit.
The paper will be published in the Summer 2008 issue of the Journal of Economic Perspectives.
Dynarski has joined the Ford School and the University of Michigan School of Education as an Associate Professor of Public Policy and Education.
Recent media coverage: