According to school entry regulations in most countries, the composition of school entrance cohorts is determined by a fixed cutoff date. This procedure creates inter-cohort differences in age and development which can severely influence educational trajectories. Developmental examinations at school entry might be an instrument to mitigate these differences by delaying school entry for children with developmental impairments. Using data on the compulsory school entrance screening in the German federal state of Brandenburg, this paper shows that age and developmental status are the major influencing factors for a child's probability to receive a school recommendation. Younger children and children with impairments in cognitive, socio-emotional and motor development as well as health are less likely to be recommended. Delaying school entry allows them to improve, although their developmental status remains below average. School entrance examinations thus allow for some harmonization of school cohorts with respect to age and developmental differences.
child development school entrance school recommendation relative age