About this paper

Appears in:
Pages: 6588-6597
Publication year: 2011
ISBN: 978-84-614-7423-3
ISSN: 2340-1079

Conference name: 5th International Technology, Education and Development Conference
Dates: 7-9 March, 2011
Location: Valencia, Spain

INVESTIGATING THE IMPACT OF AT-RISK FACTORS AND FOSTER CARE STATUS IN SECONDARY EDUCATION OUTCOMES

K. Frerer1, L. Sosenko2

1UCB (UNITED STATES)
2Cal-PASS (UNITED STATES)
Background/Current Paper: For youth with a history of foster care placement, the impact associated with challenges within the family environment and removal from home often compromises their ability to function and learn. Past research indicates that compared to their peers, foster students are more likely to have lower achievement test scores and perform below grade level (Conger & Rebeck, 2001; Pecora et al., 2006; Smithgall, Gladden, George, & Courtney, 2004).

Although many educators identify foster youth as an educationally vulnerable population, they are not specifically identified as a specific subgroup under U.S. federal law. While past research suggests that characteristics of foster youth and at-risk groups identified in the federal Elementary and Secondary Education Act (No Child Left Behind) overlap (e.g. both groups of students are, on average, poor, non-white, and have disabilities), missing from current research is an understanding of whether poor education outcomes for foster youth are due to maltreatment and foster care placement or known academic at-risk factors. The current paper attempts to fill this gap in knowledge.

Methods: Administrative child welfare and education data were merged to investigate education outcomes for youth with a foster care history in grades 8 to 12 in four California counties. Youth with a history of foster care placement were matched closely to general population students on a number of demographic factors. Specifically, students were matched on gender, ethnicity, English Language Learner (ELL) Status, primary disability, National School Lunch Program (NSLP), district, and a measure of school quality. Education outcomes include performance on the California Standards Test (CST) in English Language Arts and math, the California High School Exit Examination (CAHSEE), and grade level appropriate English and math classes. Statistical analyses included descriptive, bivariate, and multivariate logistic regression.

Results: Findings indicate even after controlling for the association of noted education at-risk factors, foster youth were significantly less likely to achieve positive outcomes on the majority of education outcomes. Compared to the closely matched group of students, foster youth were 6-26% less likely to achieve proficiency on CST ELA and math and 9-27% less likely to achieve success in English and math courses. Ethnicity, disability status, and school quality school were primary at-risk factor for all students. Findings indicate that for youth with a history of foster care placement, the impact associated child maltreatment and foster care placement comprises their ability to function and learn beyond noted education at-risk factors. Overall this study found support for inclusion of foster youth as a specific at-risk subgroup.
@InProceedings{FRERER2011INV,
author = {Frerer, K. and Sosenko, L.},
title = {INVESTIGATING THE IMPACT OF AT-RISK FACTORS AND FOSTER CARE STATUS IN SECONDARY EDUCATION OUTCOMES},
series = {5th International Technology, Education and Development Conference},
booktitle = {INTED2011 Proceedings},
isbn = {978-84-614-7423-3},
issn = {2340-1079},
publisher = {IATED},
location = {Valencia, Spain},
month = {7-9 March, 2011},
year = {2011},
pages = {6588-6597}}
TY - CONF
AU - K. Frerer AU - L. Sosenko
TI - INVESTIGATING THE IMPACT OF AT-RISK FACTORS AND FOSTER CARE STATUS IN SECONDARY EDUCATION OUTCOMES
SN - 978-84-614-7423-3/2340-1079
PY - 2011
Y1 - 7-9 March, 2011
CI - Valencia, Spain
JO - 5th International Technology, Education and Development Conference
JA - INTED2011 Proceedings
SP - 6588
EP - 6597
ER -
K. Frerer, L. Sosenko (2011) INVESTIGATING THE IMPACT OF AT-RISK FACTORS AND FOSTER CARE STATUS IN SECONDARY EDUCATION OUTCOMES, INTED2011 Proceedings, pp. 6588-6597.
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