University of Oulu

Alenius, S., Kajantie, E., Sund, R. et al. School grades and educational attainments of adolescents and young adults born preterm. Sci Rep 13, 231 (2023).

School grades and educational attainments of adolescents and young adults born preterm

Saved in:
Author: Alenius, Suvi1,2; Kajantie, Eero1,2,3,4; Sund, Reijo5;
Organizations: 1Finnish Institute for Health and Welfare, Mannerheimintie 166, P.O. Box 30, 00271, Helsinki, Finland
2Children’s Hospital, University of Helsinki and Helsinki University Hospital, Helsinki, Finland
3Faculty of Medicine, PEDEGO Research Unit, MRC Oulu, Oulu University Hospital and University of Oulu, Oulu, Finland
4Department of Clinical and Molecular Medicine, Norwegian University of Science and Technology, Trondheim, Norway
5Faculty of Health Sciences, School of Medicine, Institute of Clinical Medicine, University of Eastern Finland, Kuopio, Finland
6Tampere Center for Child, Adolescent, and Maternal Health Research: Global Health Group, Faculty of Medicine, and Health Technology, Tampere University, Tampere, Finland
7Department of Psychology, Bielefeld University, Bielefeld, Germany
8Department of Psychology, University of Warwick, Coventry, UK
9Department of Psychology and Logopedics, Faculty of Medicine, University of Helsinki, Helsinki, Finland
10Institute of Labour Economics, Leibniz University, Hannover, Germany
11Institute of Labor Economics (IZA), Bonn, Germany
12Region Stockholm, Academic Primary Health Care Centre, Stockholm, Sweden & Karolinska Institute, Department of Molecular Medicine and Surgery, Stockholm, Sweden
Format: article
Version: published version
Access: open
Online Access: PDF Full Text (PDF, 1.4 MB)
Persistent link:
Language: English
Published: Springer Nature, 2023
Publish Date: 2023-08-09


Attendance in special education (SE) is more common among individuals born preterm than among those born at term. Less is known about school grades of those born preterm in mainstream education (ME), and how these grades predict later educational attainment. This population-based register-linkage study assessed (1) attendance in SE, and then focused on those in ME by assessing (2) school grades at 16 year, (3) completed educational level at 25 year, and (4) school grades as predictors for completed education by gestational age (GA) with full-term birth (39–41 completed weeks) as reference. The sample comprised 223,744 individuals (10,521 preterm, 4.7%) born in Finland (1/1987–9/1990). Of the sample, 4.9% attended SE. Those born preterm had up to 5.5-fold rates for SE. In ME, those born extremely preterm (EPT) had marginally lower mathematics grades compared with full-term counterparts, whilst those born late preterm or early term had slightly higher grades. Those born EPT or very preterm had lower physical education grades in ME. However, the minor differences in school grades according to GA appear not to translate into educational differences in young adulthood. The associations between school grades at 16 year and completed education at 25 year did not vary by GA.

see all

Series: Scientific reports
ISSN: 2045-2322
ISSN-E: 2045-2322
ISSN-L: 2045-2322
Volume: 13
Issue: 1
Article number: 231
DOI: 10.1038/s41598-022-27295-4
Type of Publication: A1 Journal article – refereed
Field of Science: 3123 Gynaecology and paediatrics
Funding: Supported by the Academy of Finland (Skidi-Kids program for 2010–2013 and Grants 127437, 129306, 130326, 134791, 263924, 274794, and 315690 to E.K., and Clinical Researcher Grant 288966 to P.Ho.; and Grant 1324596 to K.R.); European Commission (Horizon2020 award 733280 RECAP Research on Children and Adults Born Preterm to E.K., K.R. and D.W.); the Doctoral Programs of public Health, University of Helsinki (S.A.); the Finnish Foundation for Pediatric Research (to E.K. and P.Ho.), the Signe and Ane Gyllenberg Foundation (to S.A., E.K. and P.Ho.); the Alli Paasikivi Foundation (to P.Ho.); the Sigrid Jusélius Foundation (to E.K.); the Juho Vainio Foundation (to E.K. and S.A.); Norface DIAL Programme project 462-16-040 Premlife Life Course Dynamics after Preterm Birth (to Drs. E.K., K.R., D.S., D.W. and S.L.); the Novo Nordisk Foundation (to E.K.); the Finnish Foundation for Cardiovascular Research (to E.K. and P. Ho.); the Emil Aaltonen Foundation (to E.K. and P.Ho.); the Paulo Foundation (to S.A.); the Finnish Medical Foundation (to S.A.); the Päivikki and Sakari Sohlberg Foundation (to S.A); the Alfred Kordelin foundation (to S.A.); and UKRI Frontier Research Grant (ERC-AdG reviewed) EP/X023206/1 (to D.W.). The study funders had no role in design and conduct of the study; collection, management, analysis, and interpretation of the data; writing, preparation, review, or approval of the manuscript; and decision to submit the manuscript for publication.
Copyright information: © The Author(s) 2023, corrected publication 2023. This article is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License, which permits use, sharing, adaptation, distribution and reproduction in any medium or format, as long as you give appropriate credit to the original author(s) and the source, provide a link to the Creative Commons licence, and indicate if changes were made. The images or other third party material in this article are included in the article's Creative Commons licence, unless indicated otherwise in a credit line to the material. If material is not included in the article's Creative Commons licence and your intended use is not permitted by statutory regulation or exceeds the permitted use, you will need to obtain permission directly from the copyright holder. To view a copy of this licence, visit