This article intends to provide a critical analysis of Kucuker’s academic article “A Comparison of the Academic Achievements of Students with Different Primary School Entrance Age”. Kucuker (2016) conducted a study that investigated the relation between the academic achievement of students and primary school entrance age through quantitative research method. This study selected a sample of 326 students in 12 second grade classes from a primary school in Tokat (Kucuker, 2016). These students started the primary school at the age of 60-66 months and 73-84 months in 2012-2013 academic year (Kucuker, 2016). By comparing these two groups, the research findings show that students who entered primary school at the age of 73- 84 months had better academic performance than students with primary school entrance age of 60-66 months (Kucuker, 2016).
Kucuker has used a wide range of academic sources to emphasize the important of the research topic as well as support his argument. In the introduction, Kucuker provides views of authorities who regard the regulation of changing primary school entrance age from age 6 to age 5 as inappropriate and unrealistic. He particularly emphasizes the lack of ability and sills of five-year-olds for the basic education, which is supported by the opinions of various universities, pedagogues and non-governmental organizations that are involved in education. For example, he uses the report published by Turkish Medical Association to highlight the disadvantages of children entering primary school at an early age (Kucuker, 2016).
The observation and evaluation researches conducted by non-governmental organizations also demonstrate that children entering primary school at age five led to a series of problems (Kucuker, 2016). In addition, Kucuker uses statistics and tables from official reports to support his argument. For instance, he compares the statistics from Ministry of National Education to demonstrate the increasing number of students enrolled in primary school at age 5, which leads to the controversial issue of lowing primary school enrollment age. He cites the table from The World Bank to highlight the general trend of primary school enrollment age.
Following this, Kucuker (2016) uses previous studies and theories to create theoretical foundation for his research objectives. Kucuker explains one of goals of his research as evaluating the level of “school readiness” and “maturity” of children at primary school. He adopts the theory of developmental psychology to elucidate the differences in intellectual development, emotion development and maturity levels among children with different age. Moreover, Kucuker provides an overview of previous studies that investigate the relationship between primary school entrance age and students’ academic achievement. This is helpful for the audience to understand what previous researchers have examined in this field and what they have discovered.
In terms of research methodology, Kucuker (2016) adopted a combination of purposeful sampling and basic random sampling in his research. The sample selection process is effective in selecting students who meet the criteria and controlling variables that may influence the research findings. Kucuker (2016) provides detailed explanation of how he controlled other variables such as institutional effect, entrance requirement and pre-school training in the sample selection. The sample selection minimizes the bias and possibility of inequality. Regarding the analysis of collected data, the researcher applies SPSS 17 package program to data analysis. He repeats analysis to rule out the influences of gender variable. The analysis result is represented by a table, which clearly shows that correlation among different variables.
At the end of article, Kucuker (2016) states his conclusion and suggestions. In the discussion part, Kucuker does not provide a detailed explanation of his research results. He offers a short conclusion of his findings and provides assumed reasons for the findings from three perspective. The reasons are not closely associated with the research he conducted and there is no evidence proving the truthfulness of his assumption. In addition, he does not explain the research findings from the perspective of developmental psychology. As he regards the SES levels of the families as a reason for students’ academic performance, there is no theories and studies provided in the literature review. It is suggested that Kucuker should focus more on his research results and provide a more detailed explanation.
Kucuker, E. (2016). A comparison of the academic achievements of students with different primary school entrance age. Education, vol. 137, no. 1, pp. 46-58.