Date of Graduation

2011

Document Type

Dissertation

Degree Name

Doctor of Education (Ed.D.)

Department/Program

Learning and Instruction

First Advisor

Yvonne Bui

Second Advisor

Robert Burns

Third Advisor

Patricia A. Mitchell

Abstract

Academic achievement in foster youth can be influenced by factors related to the foster care experience. The purpose of this study was to determine if gender, ethnicity, time in placement, type of placement, number of placements, and special education status could predict high school graduation in foster youth. To conduct the study a group of foster youth that graduated from high school (n=390) was compared to a group of foster youth that did not graduate from high school (n-400). Sample data were fit to a logistic regression prediction model on the independent variables of gender, ethnicity, time in placement, type of placement, number of placements, and special education status against the dependent variable of high school graduation.

Results indicated that the predicted logit of (GRADUATE) =-1.5682+ (0.3321)*FEMALE+ (0.4641)*ETHNOTHR+(-0. 4936)*ENTRY2+ (1.0464)*TYPE3+ (0.8549)*TYPE4+(1.0798)*TIME10>+ (0.3485)*PLACE7>. (1) Females were 1.3814 times more likely to graduate from high school than males. (2) Non Hispanics were 1.5906 times more likely to graduate than Hispanics. (3) Children who entered care at age 12 to 15 were .6105 times less likely to graduate than children who entered care at other ages. (4) Foster youth who were in care for less than 10 years were 2.9401 times more likely to graduate than youth who were in care for more than ten. (5) Foster youth in foster family agency homes were 2.8474 times more likely to graduate than foster youth in other placement types. Foster youth in relative homes were 2.3510 times more likely to graduate than foster youth in other types of placements. (6) Foster youth who had seven placements or less were 1.4169 times more likely to graduate than foster youth with more than seven placements. (7) Special education service was not a significant predictor of high school graduation at the .05 significance level. Conclusions indicate that the variables studied have a measurable effect on the odds of foster youths graduating from high school. An analysis of the prediction model developed in this study reveals the degree to which these variables function as risk to academic achievement as measured by high school graduation.

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