Revisiting the Age-Old Question: What Are the Effects of Relative Age and Gender on Young Children in School Settings?

Maria Cantalini-Williams, Jessica Perron, Andrew Biemiller


This review of current literature revisits the “age-old question” of whether relative age and gender differences affect school readiness and success. An integrated and holistic understanding of readiness is postulated whereby every child is viewed as ready and able to learn, with parents, educators, and communities being responsible for nurturing optimal development and appropriate assessments accommodating for age and gender differences. Findings from numerous studies exploring the effects of age and gender on social/emotional, behavioural, and cognitive/academic skills are described. Recommendations are suggested regarding potential changes in school entry, instruction, and evaluation policies and the need for further research.


school readiness; early school success; age; gender

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Copyright (c) 2016 Maria Cantalini-Williams, Jessica Perron, Andrew Biemiller

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Journal of Childhood Studies is supported by the Canadian Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council