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The relationship between living in a foster home and reading achievement among high school students Wolfe, Darge

Abstract

This study investigated the relationship between living in a foster home and reading achievement among high school students. It involved 71 subjects living in foster and non-foster homes. Nineteen schools in Vancouver, Richmond and Surrey, British Columbia, were Included in the study. The first part of the study was concerned with the relationship between Type of Home and reading achievement, I.Q. and reading scores were obtained using the California Short-Form Test of Mental Maturity and the Reading Battery of the California Achievements Tests. Age, Sex, Grade, I.Q. and Type of Home and the interactions between Type of Home and I.Q. and between Type of Home and Sex were used as predictors in multiple regression analysis of the data obtained. The dependent variable was the grade placement of the subjects on the reading test. The results suggest that there is little relationship between Type of Home and reading achievement. However, there was a significant mean difference in I.Q. between the foster and non-foster children. The predictor variables included in the study accounted for about 75% of the variance in the dependent variable. In the second part of the study, relationship between the reading achievement of the foster children and Age of Admission to Foster Care, Length of Foster Care and the Number of Times the Children Changed Homes was investigated. The interactions between Age at First Admission and Length of Foster Care and between Socioeconomic Status of the foster parents and the Length of Stay in the Present Home were also considered. Again, multiple regressions were used to analyze the data. The results indicated that the number of times the children changed homes was more strongly related to their reading achievement than either Age at First Admission or Length of Foster Care. However, only Grade and I.Q. were found to be significantly related to the reading achievement of the children; they accounted for about 70% of the variance in the dependent variable. There were no significant interactions. It was suggested that future studies of the academic achievement of foster children should include elementary as well as high school students, both in regular and "special" classes. It was also pointed out that further research should consider not only the self-concept, school attendance and the natural home background of the foster children but also teacher expectations and the number of schools attended. Studies regarding the relationship between living in a foster home and the development of intellectual abilities were also recommended.

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