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Age at school transition and children’s cognitive and non-cognitive outcomes

Tushar Bharati and Thea Harpley Green
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Tushar Bharati: Business School, The University of Western Australia,
Thea Harpley Green: Business School, The University of Western Australia,

No 21-06, Economics Discussion / Working Papers from The University of Western Australia, Department of Economics

Abstract: Can changing the age at which children transition from primary to secondary school mitigate the negative effects of the disruptive event? We attempt to provide an answer by examining the effect of a recent policy initiative that required schools in four Australian states to move year 7 from primary (‘7+5’ model) to secondary school (‘6+6’ model), bringing forward the transition by a year. ‘Combined schools’ that taught both primary and secondary school years were relatively undisturbed but others had to drop or pick an additional year. Using this difference across postcodes in the type of schools and variation in the timing when different states switched to the new model, we show that the switch to the new school model is negatively associated with aspects of cognition, locus of controls, and personality measured years after the transition. Worryingly, the effects appear more unfavourable for Indigenous Australians and female school students. Comparing respondents born in the same year who started school in different years, we find those who were relatively younger at the time of transition suffered more, suggesting that raising the age at transition could benefit children.

Keywords: secondary school; school transition; cognition; locus of control; personality traits (search for similar items in EconPapers)
JEL-codes: I24 I28 J24 (search for similar items in EconPapers)
Pages: 45
Date: 2021
New Economics Papers: this item is included in nep-edu and nep-neu
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