Redshirting is a term originally used to describe a college athlete who does not compete for a year in order to grow in size, strength, and/or skill in order to give him or her an extra year of eligibility. The term is now frequently used in discussions about whether or not to start a young 5 year old in kindergarten. To redshirt a child means to not enroll him in kindergarten even though he is 5 years old by the cut off date, September 1.
While growing in popularity, the data on redshirting is fairly consistent — there does not appear to be any long-term advantage. A redshirted kindergartner may sail through the first few years of elementary school ahead of the class, but the rest of the class has caught up by middle school and at that point may even surpass the redshirted child.
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