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A new factor in UK students’ university attainment: The relative age effect reversal?

Roberts, SJ and Stott, TA (2015) A new factor in UK students’ university attainment: The relative age effect reversal? Quality Assurance in Education, 23 (3). pp. 295-305. ISSN 0968-4883 (Submitted)

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Abstract

Purpose – The purpose of this paper is to study relative age effects (RAEs) in a selected sample of university students. The majority of education systems across the globe adopt age-related cut-off points for eligibility. This strategy has received criticism for (dis)advantaging those older children born closer to the “cut-off” date for entry into an academic year and for promoting the existence of RAEs. To date, there are only two studies which have examined the relative age phenomenon in a university setting specifically. Design/methodology/approach – Data of student records from the years 2006-2009 were analysed. Specifically this included date of birth, The Universities and Colleges Admissions Service (UCAS) entry points, gender, grade point averages and final year degree classification. Findings – Analysis of data collected from 460 university students revealed a significant RAE reversal. Specifically, relatively younger students achieved significantly higher first-class honours degrees than relatively older students (p < 0.01). Research limitations/implications – Limitations include the following: the sample was modest and restricted to only 460 students located within one of the universities five faculties. Recent RAE studies in education have recruited thousands of students; therefore, these findings may not be totally representative of the broader UK university population. Originality/value – This is only the second UK-based study to examine RAEs from a university perspective. The findings highlight an interesting and new insight into the RAE phenomenon and one that warrants further scientific attention.

Item Type: Article
Additional Information: This article is (c) Emerald Group Publishing and permission has been granted for this version to appear here http://dx.doi.org/10.1108/QAE-01-2013-0008. Emerald does not grant permission for this article to be further copied/distributed or hosted elsewhere without the express permission from Emerald Group Publishing Limited. - See more at: http://www.emeraldgrouppublishing.com/authors/writing/author_rights.htm#sthash.jrrjxzoK.BoAXo138.dpuf
Uncontrolled Keywords: 13 Education
Subjects: L Education > LB Theory and practice of education > LB2300 Higher Education
Divisions: School of Sport Studies, Leisure and Nutrition
Publisher: Emerald
Date Deposited: 01 Sep 2015 08:34
Last Modified: 01 Sep 2015 08:34
DOI or Identification number: 10.1108/QAE-01-2013-0008
URI: http://researchonline.ljmu.ac.uk/id/eprint/1409

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