Factors associated with academic backwardness in school children:a hospital based observational study
Keywords:Academic backwardness, School children, IQs, Wechsler intelligence score, Mental subnormality
Background: Academic backwardness is a problem with far reaching consequences. This study was undertaken with the aim of correlating IQ obtained through Weschlers intelligence scale for children with poor academic performance and also to ascertain various factors associated with academic backwardness.
Methods: All children in the age group 10 to 16 years brought with complaints of poor school performance were included in the study. They were evaluated with a thorough relevant history, physical examination audiometry, visual acuity and hematological parameters. IQ assessment was done using Wechsler Intelligence Score for Children (WISC) by clinical psychologist.
Results: 35.09% (n=20) children had subnormal IQs, the majority having normal IQ 63.91% (n=37). Behavioral disorders were the single largest group of associated factors followed by chronic medical illnesses, majority being epileptics on antiepileptic drugs. Among the various perinatal and postnatal factors, history of delayed development was significantly associated with subnormal IQ. There was no significant correlation of IQ test scores with marks scored in school examinations. r’= 0.195 was insignificant at 5% level. Majority of children performing poorly at school were not mentally subnormal. Behavioural disorders were present in children performing poorly at school.
Conclusions: Mental subnormality accounts for only a minority of children with academic backwardness. Behavioural disorders can either be the cause or effect of poor scholastic performance.
Marcel Kinsbourne, William D. Graf. Disorders of mental development in child neurology. In: John H. Menkes, Harvey B. Sarnat, eds. A Book. 6th ed. Philadelphia: Lippincott Williams and Wilkins; 2002: 1156-1157.
Yule W, Rutter M. Reading and intelligence. In: Knights R, Bakker J, eds. Neuropsychology of Language Disorders. Theoretical Approaches. 1st ed. Baltimore: University Park Press; 1976.
Sudha Chaudhri, Madhumati, Anjali Chitale, Anand Pandit, Mahendra Hoge. Pune low birth weight study-cognitive abilities and educational performance at 12 y. Indian Pediatr. 2004;41:121-8.
Lui J, Rane A, Venebles PH, Dalais C, Mednik SA. Malnutrition at age 3 years and lower cognitive ability at age 11 years: independence from psychosocial adversity. Arch Pediatr Adolesc Med. 2003;157:593-600.
Byrd RS, Weitzman M, Aunger P. Increased behavioral problems associated with delayed school entry and delayed school progress. Pediatrics. 1997;100:654-61.
Mostafa. A. Abdolfotouh. Behaviour disorders among urban school boys in Southwest Saudi Arabia. East Mediterr Health J. 1997;3(2):274-83.
Lin Y-Q, Ebrahim GJ. Frequency of behaviour disorder and related factors in school children in Lusaka. J Trop Pediatr. 1991;37:303-9.
Margot Prior, Diana Smart, Ann Sanson, Frank Berklaid. Relationships between learning difficulties and psychological problems in preadolescent children from a longitudinal sample. J Am Acad Child Adolesc Psychiatry.1999;38(4):429-36.
Pharoah PO, Stevenson CJ, Cooke RW, Stevenson RC. Prevalence of behaviour disorders in low birth weight infants. Arch Dis Childhood. 1994;70:271-4.
Ellen Bery JH, Hotz DG, Nelson KB. Do seizures in children cause intellectual deterioration? NEJM. 1986;314:1085-8.
Sunil Karande, Madhuri Kulkarni. Poor school performance. Indian J Pediatr. 2005;72:961-7.
Ibekwe RC, Ojinnaka NC, Iloeje SO. Academic performance of school children with epilepsy. West Afr J Med. 2008;27(2):74-7.
Demonet JF, Taylor MJ, Chaix. Developmental dyslexia. Lancet. 2004;363:1451-60.
Karande S, Kulkarni A. Specific learning disability: the invisible handicap. Indian Pediatr. 2005;45:315-9.