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Ong LC, Chandran V, Lim YY, Chen AH, Poh BK
Correspondence: Professor Dr Ong Lai Choo, email@example.com
Introduction The aim of this study was to identify factors associated with poor academic achievement during the early school years.
Methods This was a cross-sectional study of urban Primary Two children. Sociodemographic and medical data were obtained from questionnaires and interviews. Achievement was based on marks obtained in the core subjects of the Primary One examination. All students underwent the Raven’s Standard Progressive Matrices test as a general measure of cognitive ability, audiometry and visual tests, and standardised measurements of weight and height.
Results Out of 1,470 eligible children, 206 (14 percent) had poor academic achievement. Of the 919 children who participated in the study, 111 (12.1 percent) had poor achievement compared with 95 (17.2 percent) of the 551 non-participants. Using logistic regression analysis, the factors that were found to be independently associated with poor academic achievement were lower mean Raven scores (p-value is less than 0.001), lower mean socioeconomic status scores (p-value is less than 0.001), larger sibship size (p-value is 0.031), male gender (odds ratio [OR] 1.7; 95 percent confidence interval [CI] 1.1–2.65) and a history of prematurity (OR 14; 95 percent CI 2–97.8).
Conclusion Cognitive ability, gender, prematurity and social factors contribute to poor academic achievement during the early school years. The higher proportion of poor achievers among non-participants warrants further attention.
Keywords: academic achievement, cognitive ability, gender, prematurity, socioeconomic status
Singapore Med J 2010; 51(3): 247-252