Date of Conferral
Children participating in kindergarten programming across the United States are expected to perform at a higher level than ever before. Many of these children are unprepared and developmentally unready for the academic tasks that await them. Researchers have shown that an older age at the start of kindergarten is a predictor of academic achievement. Researchers have also shown that prior preschool experience impacts academic achievement. What has been unknown though is how the relationship between both beginning kindergarten at an older age and attending preschool prior to beginning kindergarten impacts academic success. Using Piaget's theory of development as a foundation, this study examined the relationships among age at the start of kindergarten, prior preschool experience, and academic achievement. A quantitative quasiexperimental methodology was used with ex post facto data. Data from the Early Childhood Longitudinal Study were analyzed using a 2-way ANOVA to assess the strength of the effects of the variables. Results indicated that children who were 6 years of age at the start of kindergarten outperformed their younger peers on 3rd grade reading achievement assessment. Preschool experience was found to not impact reading achievement, nor did it moderate the relationship between age at the start of kindergarten and 3rd graders' reading achievement. These results support the notion that social change can come about through the dissemination of this research to parents and early childhood educators and provide assistance in making decisions about when children are ready for school.