Preterm births tied to developmental delays

April 1, 2013

In a study published in the April 2013 edition of Pediatrics, Emory researchers suggest that late preterm birth and maternal education have a relative impact on standardized test performance — the most common measure of academic performance and principal determinant of grade retention in public schools.

Led by Bryan Williams, lead researcher and associate professor at Emory's Nell Hodgson Woodruff School of Nursing, the team monitored live births to Georgia-resident mothers ages 11-53 and the test results for all three components of the Criterion-referenced Competency Test (CRCT) for first graders in Georgia public schools. The aim was to determine the association between late preterm births – birth between 36-37 weeks' gestation – and first grade standardized test scores. The findings suggested that preterm birth and low maternal education increase a child's risk of failure of first grade standardized testing scores.

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Prematurity and maternal education affect early academic achievement