University Of Tasmania
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The impact of age and gender on Prep children's academic achievements

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posted on 2023-05-25, 21:54 authored by Boardman, M
Within the current climate of heightened interest in the education of young children, it is essential that consideration be given to different factors which may impact, either positively or negatively, on the achievement of young learners when their academic progress in literacy and numeracy is considered. The research study reported in this paper aimed to investigate whether age and gender impacted on the academic results of five - and six year - old students in Tasmanian state schools. The dual-method study considered the children's development in the area of early literacy and numeracy, at the commencement of their year in Prep (following their previous year in kindergarten). Results for 884 students from the PIPS (Performance Indicators of Primary Schools) testing procedure (mandated by the Tasmanian Department of Education for all children at the start of their year in Prep) were used to inform this study. Quantitative results revealed that children's age had a significant impact on the results they receive in PIPS at the commencement of Prep. Younger children (aged 5.00 - 5.03 years at the time of the test) within the Prep class cohort were found to be performing at significantly lower levels of academic achievement than their peers who were six to 11 months older in the areas of maths, reading and phonics. Likewise, girls achieved statistically higher results in reading and in the PIPS total scores, when compared to the scores of boys. This study provides key evidence that there are children who, because of their age or gender, are achieving lower test scores on PIPS. These children and their needs in literacy and numeracy must be more fully understood and acted upon.


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Australian Journal of Early Childhood



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