Objective: Because limited long-term outcome data exist for infants born at 32 to 36 weeks gestation, we compared school outcomes between 32- to 33-week moderate preterm (MP), 34-36 week late preterm (LP) and full-term (FT) infants.
Study design: A total of 970 preterm infants and 13 671 FT control subjects were identified from the Early Childhood Longitudinal Study-Kindergarten Cohort. Test scores, teacher evaluations, and special education enrollment from kindergarten (K) to grade 5 were compared.
Results: LP infants had lower reading scores than FT infants in K to first grade (P < .05). Adjusted risk for poor reading and math scores remained elevated in first grade (P < .05). Teacher evaluations of math skills from K to first grade and reading skills from K to fifth grade were worse for LP infants (P < .05). Adjusted odds for below average skills remained higher for math in K and for reading at all grades (P < .05). Special education participation was higher for LP infants at early grades (odds ratio, 1.4-2.1). MP infants had lower test and teacher evaluation scores than FT infants and twice the risk for special education at all grade levels.
Conclusions: Persistent teacher concerns through grade 5 and greater special education needs among MP and LP infants suggest a need to start follow-up, anticipatory guidance, and interventions for infants born at 32 to 36 weeks gestation.