2 Citations (Scopus)


Objective: To compare academic attainment at age 12 years in preterm children born below 30 weeks of gestation with matched term-born peers, using standardized, nationwide and well-validated school tests. Study design: This population-based, national cohort study was performed by linking perinatal data from the nationwide Netherlands Perinatal Registry with educational outcome data from Statistics Netherlands and included 4677 surviving preterm children born at 250/7-296/7 weeks of gestational age and 366 561 controls born at 40 weeks of gestational age in 2000-2007. First, special education participation rate was calculated. Subsequently, all preterm children with academic attainment test data derived at age 12 years were matched to term-born children using year and month of birth, sex, parity, socioeconomic status, and maternal age. Total, language, and mathematics test scores and secondary school level advice were compared between these 2 groups. Results: Children below 30 weeks of gestation had a higher special education participation rate (10.2% vs 2.7%, P < .001) than term-born peers. Preterm children had lower total (−0.37 SD; 95% CI −0.42 to −0.31), language (−0.21 SD; 95% CI −0.27 to −0.15), and mathematics (−0.45 SD; 95%CI −0.51 to −0.38) z scores, and more often a prevocational secondary school level advice (62% vs 46%, P < .001). Conclusions: A substantial proportion of children born before 30 weeks of gestation need special education at the end of elementary schooling. These children have significant deficits on all measures of academic attainment at age 12 years, especially mathematics, compared with matched term-born peers.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)60-66.e3
JournalJournal of pediatrics
Early online date2022
Publication statusPublished - Dec 2022


  • matching
  • prematurity
  • registry
  • school outcome
  • special education

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