Date of Award

Summer 8-2016

Document Type

Dissertation

Degree Name

Doctor of Education (Ded)

Department

Educational and School Psychology

First Advisor

Lynanne Black, Ph.D.

Second Advisor

Joseph Kovaleski, D.Ed.

Third Advisor

Becky Knickelbein, Ed.D.

Fourth Advisor

Christoph Maier, Ph.D.

Abstract

This study examined the impact of age at school entry on academic achievement in third grade as measured by the Pennsylvania System of School Assessments (PSSA). In addition, the relationship between kindergarten entry age and the need for special education services in third grade was investigated. The sample consisted of 1039 third grade students from five different suburban school districts who took the 2014 PSSA. A three-way analysis of variance (ANOVA) was used to analyze the data and determine relationships between the independent variables of kindergarten entry age, sex, and socioeconomic status and the dependent variables of PSSA math score and PSSA reading score. A logistical regression analysis was used to examine the relationship between the independent variables of kindergarten entry age, sex, and socioeconomic status and the dependent variable of special education status. A statistically significant relationship was found between kindergarten entry age and PSSA reading scores, with students entering kindergarten at a younger age performing poorer than their older counterparts. No statistically significant differences were found between age category and PSSA math scores. However, socioeconomic status was found to be predictive of PSSA math scores. Additionally, the data did not support a significant relationship between kindergarten entry age and special education status. However, both sex and socioeconomic status had a significant predictive relationship to the likelihood of students requiring special education services by third grade, with a higher likelihood for males and students from a lower socioeconomic status.

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