Washington State Institute for Public Policy
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June 2013
This report outlines four outcome measures for tracking the educational progress of students in foster care. Previous research conducted by the Institute has shown disparities in the educational outcomes of foster youth, including a higher dropout rate, lower scores on statewide standardized assessments, and lower high school graduation rates. Improvements in state educational data have resulted in the ability to track student progress since 2005. We can now look at historical trends for many of these outcomes to determine how results have changed over time. This report provides detailed definitions and results on four long-term measures related to the educational status of youth in foster care. These measures include the following:
  • School retention: Nine out of ten (90%) foster youth re-enroll in the following school year (compared to 94% of non-foster youth).
  • Behind grade level: 6% of foster youth and non-foster youth are behind their expected grade level.
  • Adjusted cohort graduation rate: The longitudinal (four-year) graduation rate for youth in long-term foster care was between 35 and 55% (the rate for non-foster youth was between 70 and 75%).
  • Annual graduation rate: Measured on an annual basis, the graduation rate for foster youth was 48% compared to 72% for non-foster students.
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