Early school entrance and middle-run academic performance in Mexico
Evidence for 15-year-old students from the PISA test
Using an unanticipated policy reform in Mexico that shifted 4 months the cutoff date for elementary school eligibility in 2006 and information on academic performance of 15-year-old students from the Programme for International Student Assessment (PISA) 2018 survey, who entered first grade in 2006, this paper estimates the effects of starting first grade without having reached 6 years of age on middle-run academic performance. We found that entering school at a younger age increases the probability of having repeated at least one academic year by 7 percentage points and reduces academic performance (measured throughout PISA’s score points) between 6 and 10 score points in mathematics, reading and science (a Cohen’s d effect size between 0.06 and 0.10). We did not find evidence to claim that the effect of early entrance on academic performance is different for girls and boys or for urban and rural locations.