The role of prematurity and associated perinatal complications in the determination of academic achievement.
AuthorGould, Albert William.
AdvisorBergan, John R.
MetadataShow full item record
PublisherThe University of Arizona.
RightsCopyright © is held by the author. Digital access to this material is made possible by the University Libraries, University of Arizona. Further transmission, reproduction or presentation (such as public display or performance) of protected items is prohibited except with permission of the author.
AbstractThis research was conducted to obtain information to clarify the nature of the relationship between degree of prematurity and associated perinatal complications and academic achievement. Previous investigations have suggested that children born prematurely do experience academic deficits, however, significant relationships between prematurity and achievement have not consistently been reported. Advances in neonatal medical care in the past 20 years has ensured the survival of extremely fragile premature infants that previously would have perished. There has been great interest in the developmental progress of these premature survivors. In spite of this interest, questions still remain about academic progress. The present sample included 188 first grade students who were born prematurely. All students were enrolled in a prospective longitudinal follow-up program upon graduation from the neonatal intensive care nursery. Structural equation model testing (LISREL) was used to examine the structure of the relationships between the independent variables and academic achievement. Independent variables included the following; degree of prematurity, perinatal illness, socioeconomic status, ethnicity, and preschool experience. Structural equation model testing revealed that none of the eleven models tested provided a good fit for the data. Hierarchical model testing indicated that one model was preferred over the others. The model that provided the most parsimonious representation of the data specified that there was no direct relationship between degree of prematurity and achievement nor was there a direct relationship between perinatal illness and achievement. This model also included direct relationships between ethnicity, socioeconomic status, and preschool experience and achievement. This analysis revealed that within this sample of premature survivors of neonatal intensive care, neither degree of prematurity nor perinatal illness were significantly related to academic achievement. The significance of socioeconomic status has been well documented in the literature and is supported by this investigation. While preschool experience was significantly related to achievement, the relationship was not in the anticipated direction. That is, children with preschool experience had lower achievement scores than children with no preschool experience. These unexpected results were discussed in terms of the lack of sensitivity of the preschool measure.
Degree ProgramEducational Foundations and Administration