The summer-born effect

Chris Smith, Student Impact Coordinator SSAT, writes…

The idea that the month in which you are born can determine your characteristics and fate in life is one that humans have hung onto for thousands of years. Indeed, it still exists today; just turn to the horoscope in today’s paper. This idea, that your fate is pre-determined by your birth date is, of course, an uncomfortable one. Remarkably though, much recent research has demonstrated that the month of your birth can be a significant indicator of your educational performance.

This has become known as the ‘birthdate effect’ and is a phenomenon whereby students who are the youngest in a school year-group perform less well academically than their older peers. In the UK, it has become known as the ‘summer-born’ effect because, with a school year starting in September, it is students born in the summer that are the youngest for the academic cohort and therefore most affected. Recent estimates have suggested that around 10,000 summer born children each year do not achieve five A*-C grades at GCSE purely because they are the youngest in the year. And the consequences at primary school are even more surprising.

Of course a summer birthday does not consign students to doom. The effect is a statistical trend and many people do not conform to it. Notably Mother Teresa, Stephen Fry, Barack Obama and Napoleon Bonaparte were all born in August. That said, the trend is a significant one and, in the world of education, one that needs addressing…

Read full article from the Every Child Journal.

This article appeared in the latest edition of the Every Child Journal.

Tagged with:

Dee Palmer-Jones

4 December 2013

Your country needs you

19 December 2013