Low Birth Weight, Preschool Education, and School Remediation

Low Birth Weight, Preschool Education, and School Remediation

Issue/Topic: P-3 Evaluation/Economic Benefits
Author(s): Arteaga, Irma; Reynolds, Arthur; Temple, Judy
Organization(s): University of Minnesota Humphrey Institute of Public Affairs
Publication: Education and Urban Society
Published On: 1/1/2010

Although the later risks to child development associated with low birth weight are well known, relatively few prospective studies have been conducted to assess its unique contributions into adolescence. The contribution of low birth weight relative to or in addition to other risk factors for low-income children is not well documented. For example, low parent education, single-parent family status and poverty also are risk factors associated with lower school performance and general well-being.

To investigate whether a high-quality preschool program can reduce the negative effects of low family income and low birth weight on the need for special education and grade retention.


Low birth-weight and family risk factors.

Contrary to results in many published studies, for urban children from low-income families, low birth weight is not a predictor of later special education services (low birth weight is defined in the study as 2,500 grams, 5 pounds, 8 ounces and below). However, low birth weight is associated with significantly higher rates of grade retention, especially for boys. Low birth-weight students have a 7 percentage-point increase in the probability of being retained.

Participation in high-quality preschool programs.

Policy Implications/Recommendations:
Research Design:
Intervention study

1,315 low-income and predominately African American children in Chicago

Year data is from:


Data Collection and Analysis:
Analysis of the Chicago Longitudinal Study (investigates the effects of the Child-Parent preschool program for more than 1,500 children born in 1979 or 1980)

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