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Effectiveness of a group-based academic tutoring program for children in foster care: A randomized controlled trial

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  • Harper, Julie
  • Schmidt, Fred

Abstract

The consistently poor educational achievement of children in foster care has been associated with many negative outcomes including long term poor adult adjustment (e.g., higher rates of suicide, criminality, and substance abuse). The current study was undertaken to improve foster children's academic skills through academic remediation. Across this two year randomized study, 91 children in out of home foster or kinship care, between grades 1 and 8 inclusive, completed the study. One-half were randomly assigned to the 30-week direct-instruction small group tutoring condition, while the other half served as wait-list controls. A statistically significant increase in standard scores was found on reading decoding, spelling and mathematic skills for the children who received tutoring, but no differences were obtained on sentence comprehension. Significant effect sizes, in the small to moderate range, were also found in support of the tutoring condition across these three domains. The implications of these positive findings as they relate to improving educational achievement among children in foster care are discussed.

Suggested Citation

  • Harper, Julie & Schmidt, Fred, 2016. "Effectiveness of a group-based academic tutoring program for children in foster care: A randomized controlled trial," Children and Youth Services Review, Elsevier, vol. 67(C), pages 238-246.
  • Handle: RePEc:eee:cysrev:v:67:y:2016:i:c:p:238-246
    DOI: 10.1016/j.childyouth.2016.06.009
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Flynn, Robert J. & Marquis, Robyn A. & Paquet, Marie-Pierre & Peeke, Lisa M. & Aubry, Tim D., 2012. "Effects of individual direct-instruction tutoring on foster children's academic skills: A randomized trial," Children and Youth Services Review, Elsevier, vol. 34(6), pages 1183-1189.
    2. Harper, Julie & Schmidt, Fred, 2012. "Preliminary effects of a group-based tutoring program for children in long-term foster care," Children and Youth Services Review, Elsevier, vol. 34(6), pages 1176-1182.
    3. Zinn, Andrew & Courtney, Mark E., 2014. "Context matters: Experimental evaluation of home-based tutoring for youth in foster care," Children and Youth Services Review, Elsevier, vol. 47(P3), pages 198-204.
    4. Berlin, Marie & Vinnerljung, Bo & Hjern, Anders, 2011. "School performance in primary school and psychosocial problems in young adulthood among care leavers from long term foster care," Children and Youth Services Review, Elsevier, vol. 33(12), pages 2489-2497.
    5. Forsman, Hilma & Vinnerljung, Bo, 2012. "Interventions aiming to improve school achievements of children in out-of-home care: A scoping review," Children and Youth Services Review, Elsevier, vol. 34(6), pages 1084-1091.
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    Cited by:

    1. Andre Nickow & Philip Oreopoulos & Vincent Quan, 2020. "The Impressive Effects of Tutoring on PreK-12 Learning: A Systematic Review and Meta-Analysis of the Experimental Evidence," NBER Working Papers 27476, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    2. Connolly, Paul & Sebba, Judy & Winter, Karen & Roberts, Jennifer & Tah, Priya & Millen, Sharon, 2023. "The effectiveness of book-gifting programmes to enhance the reading skills of children in care: A randomised controlled trial of ‘Reading Together’ in England," Children and Youth Services Review, Elsevier, vol. 153(C).
    3. Hickey, Andrea J. & Flynn, Robert J., 2020. "A randomized evaluation of 15 versus 25 weeks of individual tutoring for children in care," Children and Youth Services Review, Elsevier, vol. 109(C).
    4. McGuire, Austen & Gabrielli, Joy & Hambrick, Erin & Abel, Madelaine R. & Guler, Jessy & Jackson, Yo, 2021. "Academic functioning of youth in foster care: The influence of unique sources of social support," Children and Youth Services Review, Elsevier, vol. 121(C).

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