The effects of a child’s birth date on vocabulary development in years one and two of primary school
Cardiff Metropolitan University
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Background Studies have shown that the youngest children in the year group (those born in the second half of the school year) do not perform as well as the older children in the year group (those born in the first half of the school year) in academic tests. There have not yet been any tests into the birth date effect on vocabulary development. Aims This project studies the effect of birth date on vocabulary scores in years 1 and 2 of primary school. The first hypothesis for this project is that the younger children will achieve a significantly lower raw score than the older children in the group. The second hypothesis is that there will be a significant positive correlation between the child’s age in months and their vocabulary score. The third hypothesis is that when the raw scores of the children are standardized (matched according to their chronological age) the younger children will perform at the same level as the older children as the standardized score takes their age into account. The fourth hypothesis is that the birth date effect will decrease as the child gets older and moves into year 2 of primary school. Method There were 20 children from year 1 of primary school and 20 from year 2. To measure the effect of birth date on vocabulary development a formal assessment called the British Picture Vocabulary Scales (BPVS) was used to attain a raw and standardized score from the children. Results An independent samples t-test showed that there was a significant difference between both the raw scores (t (18) =-9.72, p<.0005) and the standardized scores (t (18) =-9.095, p<0.005) of the older and younger children in the class. The eta squared statistic showed that there was a significant effect of age on vocabulary scores in year 1 of primary school (.84) and this effect did decrease in year 2 of primary school (0.62) but still remained as s significant impact. Conclusion Even though there was a limited sample of children used, in this study, it still shows that there are substantial differences between the abilities of younger and older children and this may impact on their ability to learn in the classroom which may have repercussions for them in future education. This project has highlighted that teachers may need more awareness into the difficulties that the younger children in the class may face and that they may need instructions that are at their developmental level.
B.Sc. (Hons) Speech and Language Therapy
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