Information on the Study

We know that one area of schooling premature children may find especially difficult is maths. Whilst some premature children have no problems at school, others may have particular difficulties with maths that can impact upon their school achievement.

To help us provide effective support for children with difficulties in maths, we need to understand more about maths abilities in general, and we need to find out why some children have difficulties in this area. Understanding why some premature children do well in mathematics whilst others may have difficulties will enable us to find ways of helping them improve how they do in school.

In the first PRISM Study, we found out that premature children’s difficulties in maths were related to their working memory and hand-eye coordination when they were in primary school. You can read about the findings of the first PRISM Study here . However, we are not yet sure whether these skills are important for maths in secondary school and how premature children’s maths skills develop over the years from primary to secondary school. That is why we are now carrying out the PRISM-2 Study.

Where is the PRISM-2 study being carried out?

The PRISM Study is lead by researchers at the University of Leicester. We will invite the children who took part in the first PRISM Study to take part again. The children live in London and the East Midlands.

Has anyone approved this study?

This study has been reviewed by experts in the field and has been approved by the UK NHS Research Ethics Committee. The study is being funded by Action Medical Research – the leading UK-wide medical research charity dedicated to helping babies and children.

Who will be taking part in the study?

When the chlidren took part in the first PRISM Study they were aged between 8 and 10 years and were in primary school. We will invite these children to take part again now they are aged 12-15 years in secondary school. We will invite 115 children who were born very premature (before 32 weeks of gestation) to take part again and 78 children who were born around their due-date. This will help us find out if the skills that are related to maths are the same in both groups of children.

What will the children in the study be asked to do?

One of our researchers will visit the child at school for a day. During the day the child will be asked to take part in number of different activities that are a mixture of tests to assess academic attainment, mathematics skills, working memory, attention and visuo-spatial skills. The child will not be given any medical examinations. With parents, teachers and children’s permission, we will video some of the assessments for scoring purposes. This will allow us to check that the researchers carry out the exercises in exactly the same way with all the other children. The videos will be treated in the strictest confidence and only the study researchers will be able to look at them. They will be destroyed at the end of the study.