Date: Wed, 22 Dec 2004 09:04:18 -0500
Reply-To: Michael Raithel <michaelraithel@WESTAT.COM>
Sender: "SAS(r) Discussion" <SAS-L@LISTSERV.UGA.EDU>
From: Michael Raithel <michaelraithel@WESTAT.COM>
Subject: Re: OT: GPA vs. Birth Month
In igniting an interesting OT thread, Kevin Meyers posted the following:
> I was wondering if any of the stat gurus out there might know
> whether the following theory has ever been investigated statistically:
> My hypothesis is that students born early in the school year
> (October-November) tend to have better academic performance (higher
> than students born late in the school year or especially
> during the summer months (July-August). My reasoning behind
> this hypothesis is that students born early in the school
> year have had almost an entire extra year to learn and grow
> mentally before starting school. It would also be
> interesting to know whether such an advantage (if it proves
> to exist) only impacts the first few years of school, or
> whether the effect lingers throughout a student's entire
> acedemic history, perhaps due to falling behind in early
> years and related emotional impact.
> I have no idea whether this hypothesis is actually correct.
> However I have seen some annecdotal evidence that seems to
> suggest this could have at least some minor degree of impact.
> Any of you ever heard of a study on this topic?
Kevin, this thread is of great interest to me because of personal
experience. It seems to be a "dirty little secret" of the Washington DC
Maryland suburbs (or at least the ones that I live, work and socialize in)
that many parents hold their child back a year before having them enter
school. I have heard many, many mothers/fathers state things along the
lines of: "...we didn't believe he/she was ready for school, yet, so we felt
that we should wait another year." I accept their judgment, prima facie;
they are the parents and should know. But, the number of people who have
made this decision has made me wonder what is going on with kids in my
The upshot of this is that both of my children are in classes with many
children older than them. R1, who is 17 years old, has predominately
18-year-olds and 19-year-olds in his classes. R2, who is 11, has
predominately 12 and 13 year-olds in his classes. Fortunately, both of them
inherited their father's brainpower <bg> (as well as his great looks <vbg>)
so they are at the top of their respective classes, despite the competition
from older students. So, I do not believe that older students have an
I have often wanted somebody to do an investigation of this phenomenon in
this area. I would like to know exactly how prevalent it is, and if
children are getting a competitive advantage by being older and possibly
more mature when they enter school. If a social scientist were looking for
a test-bed for a study, I would invite that person to check out the
Bethesda, Rockville, Potomac, and Chevy Chase neighborhoods of Maryland.
Kevin, thanks for the thought-provoking thread. Happy holidays to you, your
colleagues, and your family! Aw heck; Happy holidays to the entire SAS-L
subscribership, their colleagues and their families too!
I hope that this suggestion proves helpful now, and in the future!
Of course, all of these opinions and insights are my own, and do not reflect
those of my organization or my associates. All SAS code and/or methodologies
specified in this posting are for illustrative purposes only and no warranty
is stated or implied as to their accuracy or applicability. People deciding
to use information in this posting do so at their own risk.
Michael A. Raithel
"The man who wrote the book on performance"
Author: Tuning SAS Applications in the MVS Environment
Author: Tuning SAS Applications in the OS/390 and z/OS Environments, Second
Currently Writing: The Complete Guide to Creating and Using SAS Indexes
(due Summer 2005)
To many people holidays are not a voyage of discovery, but a
ritual of reassurance. - Philip Andrew Adams