Mathematics difficulties in extremely preterm children: evidence of a specific deficit in basic mathematics processing
journal contributionposted on 04.04.2013 by Victoria Simms, Camilla Gilmore, Lucy Cragg, Neil Marlow, Dieter Wolke, Samantha Johnson
Any type of content formally published in an academic journal, usually following a peer-review process.
Background. Extremely preterm (EP, <26 weeks gestation) children have been observed to have poor academic achievement in comparison to their term-born peers, especially in mathematics. This study investigated potential underlying causes of this difficulty. Methods. 219 extremely preterm participants were compared with 153 term-born control children at 11 years old. All children were assessed by a psychologist on a battery of standardised cognitive tests and a number estimation test assessing children’s numerical representations. Results. EP children underperformed in all tests in comparison to the term controls (the majority of p’s<.001). Different underlying relationships between performance on the number estimation test and mathematical achievement were found in extremely preterm compared to control children. That is, even after controlling for cognitive ability, a relationship between number representations and mathematical performance persisted for EP children only (EP: r= .346, n= 186, p< .001; Control: r= .095, n=146, p= .256). Conclusion. Interventions for EP children may target improving children’s numerical representations in order to subsequently remediate their mathematical skills.
- Mathematics Education Centre