Relative Age Effects in Higher Education: An Investigation of Potential Long Term Impacts Resulting from Youth Sport and Education Policies

Wattie N, Schorer J, Tietjens M, Baker J, Cobley S

Research article (journal)


Within education and sport a ubiquitous policy, annual age grouping, is usedto group youths into one year cohorts using a cut-off date. Those born early in theselection year can be up to 12 months older than their cohort peers, a phenomenatermed ‘relative age' differences. Relative age differences have been implicated with anumber of short and long term developmental outcomes in sport (e.g., elite athletedevelopment) and education (e.g., academic achievement). In this investigation, wesummarize two studies examining whether relative age in education and/or sportaffected the likelihood of enrolling into higher education sport science or kinesiologyprograms within Germany and England. In Study 1, there was a disproportionatenumber of relatively older students (as determined by sport cut-off dates) choosing tostudy sport science in Germany. However, these results were not replicated in anEnglish sample (Study 2), nor were relative age effects found for academicperformance. These results highlight the complex relationships between relative age,contexts and developmental outcomes, and stress the need for further research.

Details zur Publikation

Release year: 2012
Language in which the publication is writtenEnglish