OBJECTIVE: To compare school performance during middle childhood and adolescence among subjects later diagnosed with schizophrenia and their peers. METHOD: School records were ascertained from archives in 76 acutely symptomatic schizophrenic patients and 146 controls matched for gender and graded by the same teachers. RESULTS: At age 9, no differences in yearly graded school subjects were found. At 12, cases had higher marks in drawing/art and a tendency to excel in language and religion. At 15, the proficient performance in drawing/art remained, but cases performed worse than controls in gymnastics. The cases reported high frequency of school adaptation problems. Severity of psychotic symptoms at admission was associated with lower and declining marks. CONCLUSION: Schizophrenic patients seem to perform as well as their classmates in most subjects taught in compulsory basic school. Findings indicating specific talents in artistic ability and impairments in motor development need to be further investigated.