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A frequent practice within sport and educational domains is to group youth based on their chronological ages to help promote equal competition, age appropriate instruction, and ensure participant safety (e.g., Baker, Schorer, & Cobley, 2010). While well-intended, such grouping practices can often advantage relatively older children, while disadvantaging those who are relatively younger within the same age cohort. This phenomenon is known as the relative age effect (RAE; Barnsley, Thompson, & Barnsley, 1985). Although the RAE was identified in sport as far back as the 1980s, it has garnered considerable attention in popular culture in the past decade, having been featured in popular books (e.g., Outliers: The Story of Success), magazines (e.g., Sports Illustrated), and on television programs (e.g., 60 Minutes). As the general population has become increasingly aware of the consequences of relative age, pressure is being placed on sport organizations and educational institutions to rectify these biases. Despite the growing awareness of this issue, there has been little done to combat relative age (dis)advantages within the domains of sport, education, and mental health.

To help combat this issue, faculty and students at the University of Windsor and York University are hosting a one-day conference to connect and engage internationally recognized scholars who have examined the RAE from different perspectives (e.g., sport, mental health and well-being, education, youth development), policy makers, and industry professionals. Relative Age Effects: An International Conference will bring together 14 leading academic researchers to critically evaluate the state of the research, discuss strategies to minimize RAEs, and identify new areas of research. This conference has secured researchers from a range of academic disciplines (e.g., sport, education, and mental health) given the multi-faceted nature of the RAE. This will help ensure a holistic presentation of the RAE and encourage multidisciplinary collaboration and networking. Throughout this event, an emphasis will be placed on developing and strengthening relationships between academics, policy makers, and industry practitioners in order to build a community of practice that encourages ongoing information exchange to help minimize RAEs within settings that rely on age cohorts (e.g., sport and education).

This conference provides a unique opportunity to communicate and exchange RAE knowledge between academics and industry professionals. The overarching goal is to mobilize knowledge and enact change within sport governing bodies and educational institutions to help equalize opportunities for all individuals. Such efforts could improve grassroots participation in sport and a broad range of educational outcomes.

The primary audience for this conference is academics; however, industry professionals within the areas of sport (e.g., coaches, policy makers), education (e.g., school board superintendents), and mental health care (e.g., guidance counselors, child psychologists) are all encouraged to attend.

Please consider joining us on October 17, 2018 in Room 320 of Norman Bethune College on the campus of York University, in Toronto, ON. See map of York University to locate Norman Bethune College (Building 11).

Due to overwhelming interest, online registration is now closed. Limited space still remains for those interested in attending. Please contact Jess Dixon at jdixon@uwindsor.ca to secure one of these remaining spaces.

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Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada

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