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Washington State Institute for Public Policy
March 2008
A 2001 report by the Washington State Institute for Public Policy (Institute) reported the gap in standardized test scores between Washington State foster youth and non-foster youth. The analysis conducted in 2001 was based on statewide, norm-referenced assessment tests. In 2005, however, the state no longer required school districts to administer these tests, shifting instead to the criterion-based Washington Assessment of Student Learning (WASL). The Children’s Administration (DSHS) has asked to Institute to analyze WASL results for foster youth in 4th, 7th, and 10th grades. This report builds on previous work by the Institute analyzing the educational attainment of foster youth. In addition to comparing WASL results for foster and non-foster youth, we 1) analyze factors that influence the WASL test scores of foster youth, 2) describe the background of youth in foster care and analyze how these characteristics are related to their educational status, and 3) review relevant research findings and policy changes.
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