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EdWeek Explains: Academic Redshirting, and Why It's Not So Simple

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Video and text by Teresa Johnson

It's the time of year for students to go back to school, but some 5-year-olds won't be making the transition to kindergarten.

What's known as academic redshirtinghas become a more popular option, most often for upper middle class parents. This is when parents hold their child back from kindergarten by a year. Required school entry varies across the U.S., and in 42 states attendance is mandatory at age 6 or later. 

Click for more coverage of parent engagement in schools.

Academic redshirting has benefits and disadvantages on a child's development that parents should keep in mind.

Advantages for students may include higher passing rates on exams and being more attentive in classes. Disadvantages may include an increase in classroom difficulty for both students and teachers due to age gaps between students and self-esteem issues.

Research shares pros and cons on academic redshirting but there are still no clear results. Before considering the option to hold a child back from elementary school, teachers at a child's preschool may be helpful in deciding if the practice of academic redshirting may be the right option.

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