The gender gap in educational expectations among youth in the foster care system

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Kirk, Chris Michael
Lewis, Rhonda K.
Brown, Kyrah K.
Nilsen, Corinne
Colvin, Deltha Q.

Kirk, Chris Michael; Lewis, Rhonda K.; Brown, Kyrah; Nilsen, Corinne; Colvin, Deltha Q. 2012. The gender gap in educational expectations among youth in the foster care system. Children and Youth Services Review, v.34 no.9 pp.1683-1688


Youth in the foster care system are at greater risk for a host of aversive outcomes including diminished educational performance and attainment. While these issues are well-documented, less is known about gender differences on academic outcomes for these students. Over the past three decades, women have overtaken men in college attendance and post-secondary degree attainment. Research suggests that this gender gap may be greater among marginalized groups, including youth emerging from the foster care system. Using data from a statewide sample of adolescents in foster care, the current study explores the effect of gender on educational expectations and measures gender differences in college efficacy, academic functioning, and preparation for post-secondary education. After controlling for race/ethnicity and grade level, logistic regression models showed the females in foster care reported more than twice the likelihood of achieving a Bachelor's or graduate degree. Comparisons! between genders revealed that females had higher reported academic performance than males, with males making greater gains in educational expectations after participating in a college access program. Limitations and suggestions for future research and action are discussed.

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