Academic attainments of children with Down's Syndrome: a longitudinal study

Stephen Turner, Alison Alborz

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

    66 Citations (Scopus)


    Background: Studies of the academic progress of schoolchildren with Down's syndrome have given only limited indication of attainments at different ages. Such normative data, it is argued, could guide professionals and parents in respect to reasonable expectations and typical achievement. Aims: The aim of the paper is to provide a descriptive account of levels and range of academic attainments reached by a representative sample of children with Down's syndrome over time. Sample: Data relate to 106 children from three studies with the same cohort of families. Mean age was 9.1 years at the first study (1986), 13.7 at the second (1991), and 21.1 at the third (2000). Mean IQ was 40.29. Methods: The Academic Attainments Index (AAI) covers reading, writing and numeracy, and was designed for teacher completion. In order to compare attainments to wider norms, scores were compiled by age group, and related to age-specific National Curriculum attainment levels, which are similar to US school grades. Results: AAI scores were obtained for 102 individuals in 1986, 101 in 1991 and 79 in 2000. Comparisons across age groups indicate that higher scores were achieved by each successive age group up to age 20, and that this pattern held for both more and less able children. Once adjusted for differences in IQ scores between age groups, however, there was some evidence of a levelling off towards the end of the school career. By school-leaving age, the more able children reached at least some National Curriculum Key Stage 2 targets in reading and writing, and some Key Stage 3 targets in number work. Conclusion: Results provide a detailed picture of attainments across ability and age
    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)563-583
    Number of pages21
    JournalBritish Journal of Educational Psychology
    Issue number4
    Publication statusPublished - 2003


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