Date of Submission


Degree Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Psychology (PsyD)



Department Chair

Robert A. DiTomasso, Ph.D., ABPP, Chair, Department of Psychology

First Advisor

Brad Rosenfield, Psy.D., Chairperson

Second Advisor

Virginia Salzer, Ph.D.

Third Advisor

Sarah E. Stookey, D.O., Ph.D.

Fourth Advisor

Robert A. DiTomasso, Ph.D., ABPP


This study investigated whether age at kindergarten entrance has any effect on future language arts and literacy, using a sample of 340 students entering kindergarten in one largely white, middle-class, New Jersey, suburban school district. Students were grouped by age into two age categories: young (56-59 months) & on-time (60-72 months). Achievement was studied through archived measures of academic performance using correlations and chi square analyses to determine differences in literacy and language arts functioning related to age at school entrance. Results indicated young students were weaker in literacy and language arts achievement in first and second grade, but this difference was not found by fourth and eighth grade. Young entrants to kindergarten were more likely to be classified eligible for special education than their on-time classmates and were less likely to meet proficiency benchmarks. Early childhood portfolio assessments were weakly correlated with later state-mandated measurements of language arts and literacy performance. Girls and higher income students held an advantage over boys at fourth, but not eighth grade. The only demographic factor related to achievement in eighth grade was ethnic origin. Implications of the results were discussed in terms of appropriate curriculum and instructional practices.