The effect of foster care experience and characteristics on academic achievement Public Deposited

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  • March 22, 2019
  • Calix, Alexandra
    • Affiliation: School of Social Work
  • This study examined the effect of foster care experience and characteristics on educational outcomes. The typical strategy in examining the effect foster care has on educational outcomes is to compare the educational achievement of youth with foster care experience to that of their peers or to national norms. This strategy fails to take selection bias into account and thus findings based on this research can be misleading. Many studies also fail to provide information regarding how the experience of foster care may have contributed to low educational achievement. The study presented here used educational and child welfare data to assess the effect foster care has on educational outcomes. Four test-year cohorts of youth in North Carolina who took the Algebra I End of Course test in 1999-2002 were used in this study. The use of this data made it possible to apply propensity score matching techniques to systematically construct comparison groups of youth without foster care experience that account for selection bias. Once differences in achievement between foster care youth and non-foster care youth were examined, characteristics of the foster care experience that may contribute to low educational outcomes were assessed. Findings from this study suggest that youth with foster care experience score lower on the test and are less likely to pass than youth without foster care experience. This study also suggests that characteristics and variations based on the foster care experience such as race, reason for placement, age at entry, length of time in foster care, and number of foster care placement settings, are related to low educational achievement.
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  • In Copyright
  • Usher, Charles L.
Degree granting institution
  • University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill
  • Open access

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