The Gender Effects of a Foster Parent-Delivered Tutoring Program on Foster Children’s Academic Skills and Mental Health: A Randomized Field Trial

Children living in foster care are a particularly vulnerable group of children that are at high-risk for experiencing a multitude of difficulties, including poor academic performance and achievement. Although the academic underachievement of foster children has been well-documented for decades, very few attempts have been made to address the problem. This thesis is the second study to come out of the RESPs for Kids in Care research project, which represents one of three known randomized controlled trials aimed at providing an academic intervention to foster children with a view of improving their basic skills, increasing their chances of graduating from high school and enrolling in post-secondary education. Sixty-four foster children (aged 6 to 13 years), recruited from nine Children’s Aid Societies in Ontario, Canada, participated in the project and received an individualized direct-instruction tutoring intervention that was delivered by their foster parent(s). The unique contribution of the current study was its investigation of differential gender effects of the tutoring amongst the foster boys and girls, and whether there were any mental health and social-relational spillover effects. A mixed-method approach was used to explore these differential effects and the main hypothesis of the project, that the foster children in the experimental group would demonstrate greater gains in reading and math than the children in the control group, between pre-test and post-test, regardless of gender. The results were promising: the foster children in the experimental group demonstrated significant gains in their basic reading and math skills after receiving the foster-parent delivered one-on-one tutoring; there were differential gender effects across the academic and mental health results; and there was partial support for the notion that an academic tutoring intervention does elicit spill-over effects into the mental health and social-developmental domains of foster children’s lives. Results and implications were discussed.
Authors citation
Marquis, R.
Publication
Thesis, Université d’Ottawa / University of Ottawa
Year of Study
2013
Subject
Literacy
Program Name
Kids in Care
Program Evaluated
Kids in Care
Tutor Type
Parent
Duration
16 weeks
Sample size
64
Grade Level(s)
Kindergarten,
1st Grade,
2nd Grade,
3rd Grade,
4th Grade,
5th Grade,
6th Grade,
7th Grade,
8th Grade,
9th Grade,
10th Grade,
11th Grade,
12th Grade
Student-Tutor Ratio
1
Effect Size
0.26
Study Design
Randomized Controlled Trial
Full citation
Marquis, R. (2013). The Gender Effects of a Foster Parent-Delivered Tutoring Program on Foster Children’s Academic Skills and Mental Health: A Randomized Field Trial [Thesis, Université d’Ottawa / University of Ottawa]. https://doi.org/10.20381/ruor-3093