The extent to which low birth weight confers a risk for poor school function remains an important question. Children (N = 1868) in four birth weight categories [extremely low birth weight (ELBW; children weighed < or = 1000 g at birth, n = 247), other very low birth weight (1001 through 1500 g, n = 364), heavier low birth weight (1501 through 2500 g, n = 724), and normal birth weight (NBW > 2500 g, n = 533)] were compared on indicators of school achievement which included grade failure, placement in special classes, classification as handicapped, and math and reading achievement scores (Woodcock-Johnson Battery). Our results indicate that as birth weight decreases, the prevalence of grade failure, placement in special classes, and classification as handicapped increases, even when controlling for maternal education and neonatal stay. Moreover, ELBW children score lower than all other birth weight groups on math and reading achievement tests. Even among children with IQ scores above 85, ELBW children still obtain lower math scores than NBW children, suggesting the potential for future educational needs.