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Type: Journal article
Title: A simple screen performed at school entry can predict academic under-achievement at age seven in children born very preterm
Author: Taylor, R.
Pascoe, L.
Scratch, S.
Doyle, L.W.
Anderson, P.
Roberts, G.
Citation: Journal of Paediatrics and Child Health, 2016; 52(7):759-764
Publisher: Wiley
Issue Date: 2016
ISSN: 1034-4810
Statement of
Rebecca Taylor, Leona Pascoe, Shannon Scratch, Lex W Doyle, Peter Anderson and Gehan Roberts
Abstract: Aim: We aimed to compare the academic outcomes of a cohort of children born very preterm (VPT, <32 weeks of gestation) and children born at term at age 7 years and assess the ability of a pre-academic skill screen at age five to predict later academic impairment in children born VPT at age seven. Methods: One hundred ninety-four children born VPT (born with either gestational age <30 weeks or birthweight <1250 g) and 70 controls born at term from a prospective birth cohort were compared on academic outcomes (Wide Range Achievement Test, WRAT4) at age seven using regression analyses. Receiver-operating characteristic curves were used to determine whether pre-academic skills (Kaufman Survey of Early Academic and Language Skills, K-SEALS) at age five predicted academic impairment at age seven in 174 of the VPT cohort. Results: At the age of 7 years, children born VPT had lower mean word reading (–9.7, 95% CI: –14.7 to –4.6), spelling (–8.3, 95% CI: –13.3 to –3.3) and math computation (–10.9, 95% CI: –15.3 to –6.5) scores (all P-values ≤0.001) compared with controls born at term, even after adjusting for social risk and time since school commencement. In terms of pre-academic screening, the Numbers, Letters and Words subtest of the K-SEALS had adequate sensitivity and specificity (70–80%) for predicting children with academic impairment at age seven. Conclusions: Children born VPT underperformed in academic outcomes at age seven compared with controls born at term. A pre-academic screening tool used at school entry can predict children born VPT at risk of academic impairment at age seven who could benefit from targeted early intervention.
Keywords: Academic outcomes; learning disorders; premature; sensitivity and specificity; very low birthweight
Rights: © 2016 Paediatrics and Child Health Division (The Royal Australasian College of Physicians)
DOI: 10.1111/jpc.13186
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Paediatrics publications

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