The influence of age at school entry on subsequent performance at fourth grade level in Tanzania: the case of Dar es Salaam Region

No Thumbnail Available
Journal Title
Journal ISSN
Volume Title
University of Dar es Salaam
As primary school entry age varies widely among pupils in primary schools in Tanzania, it becomes more important to have a comprehensive analysis about how pupils’ age at school entry influences their subsequent progress in academic outcomes. Well kept student data systems and grade 4 national examinations administered in all public primary schools in the country, made the work of exploring age effect on pupils’ learning progress easier. This research presents a cross-section analysis of grade 4 pupils’ entry age influence on academic achievements in seven (7) primary schools in Dar es Salaam Region. The scope of this study makes it the first national assessment of entry age influence on pupils’ subsequent performance in primary schools. Four research tasks guided the study: First to assess how Mathematics and English test scores are related to pupils’ actual school starting age. Secondly, to examine how pupils’ grade repetition rates is related to age at school entry. Thirdly, to assess the extent to which pupils’ school dropouts is the result of their age at school entry. Fourthly, to examine the extent to which actual school starting age can influence pupils’ promotion to grade five. Triangulation method enabled the study to collect both quantitative and qualitative data through documentary review and semi-structured interviews respectively. The study findings first, indicated a negative age effect of underage girls on Mathematics test scores; secondly, the findings indicated a more likelihood of overage to drop out and repeat a grade than young pupils; and thirdly, the study also showed a higher possibility of on-time to be promoted to grade five than the rest subsamples. The study suggests a shift in girls’ entry age to age 6 in order to increase their potential academic competencies and teachers to deal constructively with pupils’ differences in entry age and family social economic status to maintain an equitable teaching and learning atmosphere.
available in print
School age (Entrace age), Primary School entry age, Primary schools, School children, Dar es Salaam region, Tanzania
Mafuru, H.K (2011) The influence of age at school entry on subsequent performance at fourth grade level in Tanzania: the case of Dar es Salaam Region, master dissertation, University of Dar es Salaam, available at (