EFFECT OF ENTRY AGE ON SCHOOL PERFORMANCE: EVIDENCE FROM BOTSWANA
AbstractLiterature indicates that students’ relative age in school affects performance. This phenomenon has been studied in the developed world using strict school entry age for causal identification. Students born a few days beyond the school entry age, must enroll a year later than their peers. Such school entry age cutoffs are enforced in Botswana. This study analyzed Southern African Consortium for Monitoring Educational Quality (SACMEQ) dataset for Botswana to assess the impact of relative age on performance. In 2000 SACMEQ tests, older students performed .38σ worse than young ones on reading and .27σ worse on math while in 2006, relatively older students performed .63σ worse on reading and .34σ worse on math. Therefore older students perform worse than younger ones, in contrast to the developed world. It is hypothesized that older age in developing countries may be associated with poverty and hopelessness rather than maturity. While differences in age in developed countries elicit further teacher and peer investment and therefore long-term gains, in Botswana older age may be seen to elicit rejection and a long-term inefficient poverty trap.