Academic Achievement Trajectories of Homeless and Highly Mobile Students: Resilience in the Context of Chronic and Acute Risk

J.J. Cutuli, et. al.
University of Minnesota

October 2012

Analyses examined academic achievement data across third through eighth grades (N = 26,474), comparing students identified as homeless or highly mobile (HHM) with other students in the federal free meal program (FM), reduced price meals (RM), or neither (General). Achievement was lower as a function of rising risk status (General > RM > FM > HHM). Achievement gaps appeared stable or widened between HHM students and lower risk groups. Math and reading achievement were lower, and growth in math was slower in years of HHM identification, suggesting acute consequences of residential instability. Nonetheless, 45% of HHM students scored within or above the average range, suggesting academic resilience. Results underscore the need for research on risk and resilience processes among HHM students to address achievement disparities.

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