Educational outcomes in extremely preterm children: neuropsychological correlates and predictors of attainment

Dev Neuropsychol. 2011;36(1):74-95. doi: 10.1080/87565641.2011.540541.


This study assessed the impact of extremely preterm birth on academic attainment at 11 years of age, investigated neuropsychological antecedents of attainment in reading and mathematics, and examined early predictors of educational outcomes. Children born extremely preterm had significantly poorer academic attainment and a higher prevalence of learning difficulties than their term peers. General cognitive ability and specific deficits in visuospatial skills or phoneme deletion at 6 years were predictive of mathematics and reading attainment at 11 years in both extremely preterm and term children. Phonological processing, attention, and executive functions at 6 years were also associated with academic attainment in children born extremely preterm. Furthermore, social factors, neonatal factors (necrotizing enterocolitis, breech delivery, abnormal cerebral ultrasound, early breast milk provision), and developmental factors at 30 months (head circumference, cognitive development), were independent predictors of educational outcomes at 11 years. Neonatal complications combined with assessments of early cognitive function provide moderate prediction for educational outcomes in children born extremely preterm.

MeSH terms

  • Age Factors
  • Child
  • Developmental Disabilities / diagnosis
  • Developmental Disabilities / physiopathology*
  • Developmental Disabilities / psychology*
  • Educational Status*
  • Female
  • Gestational Age
  • Humans
  • Infant, Newborn
  • Infant, Premature*
  • Infant, Very Low Birth Weight*
  • Logistic Models
  • Longitudinal Studies
  • Male
  • Mathematics
  • Neuropsychological Tests
  • Outcome Assessment, Health Care
  • Reading