Research conducted by WestEd based breaks new ground in Arizona by linking individual student education data and child welfare data to create the state’s first-ever education snapshot of all K–12 students in foster care.

The study contributes to a growing body of research showing that students in foster care constitute a distinct subgroup of academically at-risk students — a message that has not yet been clearly or fully translated from research to policy to practice.

Authors of the study’s report describe the previously undocumented achievement gap for Arizona students in foster care. They do so by comparing these students’ academic outcomes to those of the state’s K–12 population as a whole and to other at-risk subgroups with documented achievement gaps, specifically, low-socioeconomic-status students, English language learners, and students with disabilities.

Among the key findings: Arizona’s high school students in foster care had the highest dropout rates and among the lowest graduation rates in the state.

Learn more about these and other key study findings and download a copy at the Arizona’s Invisible Achievement Gap: Education Outcomes of Students in Foster Care in the State’s Public Schools resource page.