Degree Name

EdD (Doctor of Education)


Educational Leadership

Date of Award


Committee Chair or Co-Chairs

Virginia P. Foley

Committee Members

Donald W. Good, Elizabeth Ralston, Eric S. Glover


This study was conducted to see if a difference exists in the mean Dynamic Indicators of Basic Early Literacy Skills: Oral Reading Fluency scores of students who entered kindergarten as 4 year olds, 5 year olds, and 6 year olds inclusively. Specifically, this dissertation considered the possibility that holding children out of kindergarten an extra year increased their reading level, while sending children to school too young delayed their ability to read and comprehend.

A quantitative study was used to find differences between the mean reading levels at the end of 3rd grade for students who entered kindergarten on or after the age of 4 but before 5, those who entered between the ages of 5 and 6 and those who entered kindergarten after turning 6 years old. A quasi-experimental design was selected because preexisting data were collected on 1,384 third grade students in an East Tennessee school system. The scores from the Dynamic Indicator of Basic Early Literacy Skills assessment (DIBELS) were collected for each of the students in the study. The population included students who were enrolled in 3rd grade beginning with the 2003 school year and ending with students enrolled in the 3rd grade during the 2009 school year.

This study found a significant difference in the means of the DIBELS Oral Reading Fluency (ORF) scores for students who entered kindergarten on or after turning 5 years old and those that entered kindergarten on or after their 6th birthday. No differences were found between males and females of any entry age. Students who started kindergarten on or after the age of 5 but before 6 years read more words in 1 minute than students who started kindergarten on or after the age of 6 years. There were no significant differences for the Oral Reading Fluency scores among the students who entered kindergarten on or after their 4th birthday but before their 5th birthday and the other age groups.

Document Type

Dissertation - unrestricted


Copyright by the authors.