All children born before full term are more likely to have poor achievement during primary school than children born at full term (39–41 weeks), but only children born before 32 weeks have poor achievement live at risk. The end of secondary schooling, according to a new study published this week in the open-access journal one more by Maria Quigley, Niora Alterman and colleagues from Oxford Population Health, UK.
Premature birth, which is defined as birth before 37 completed weeks of pregnancy, accounts for about 11% of births globally. Previous studies have shown that children born prematurely have a higher risk of poor academic achievement in primary school than children born full term. However, few studies have followed these children through secondary school, or examined the full spectrum of gestational age at birth.
In the new study, researchers used data from children born in England from 2000-2001 who were surveyed in the population-based UK Millennium Cohort Study. Of the 11,695 children in that sample, the authors analyzed data on attainment in primary school (at age 11) for 6,950 students, and information on secondary school attainment (at age 16) for 7,131 students. analysed.
At the end of primary school, 17.7 percent of children had not achieved the expected level in both English and math. Compared with full-term babies, babies born before 32 weeks or at 32-33 weeks did not meet these benchmarks (adjusted relative risk; ARR = 2.06, 95% CI 1.46–2.92; ARR = 2.13, 95%) were more than twice as likely to do so. CI 1.44-3.13). Babies born prematurely, at 34–36 weeks, or in early term, at 37–38 weeks, were at a small increased risk of not achieving the expected (aRR=1.18, 95% CI 0.94–1.49; aRR) =1.21, 95% CI 1.05–1.38).
At the end of secondary school, 45.2 percent of students had not passed at least five General Certificate of Secondary Education (GCSE) exams, including English and math. After adjustment, babies born very preterm before 32 weeks had a 26% higher risk of not passing five GCSEs (ARR = 1.26, 95% CI 1.03–1.54), with 60% of students in this group not achieving five GCSEs. did. However, babies born at any gestation between 32 and 38 weeks did not have a higher risk than babies born at full term. Further study is needed to confirm this result.
The authors conclude that very pre-born children may benefit from screening for cognitive and language difficulties prior to school entry to guide the provision of additional support during schooling.
The authors continue: “Our study showed that birth at any gestational age before full term was associated with poorer attainment at the end of primary school. However, at the end of compulsory education, these pupils had similar outcomes to their peers. except that students born less than 32 weeks of age were at risk of low attainment.”
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