Tobin, Kerri J.
Homeless Students and Academic Achievement: Evidence from a Large Urban Area
Is housing status a predictor of student achievement in a large urban district, even after controlling for common correlates like income and race? Is the homelessness effect mediated by attendance? What school-level factors predict homeless student achievement?
Journal Name or Institutional Affiliation:
Vol. 51 No. 2 pp. 197-220
There is no meaningful difference in achievement between homeless and housed low-socioeconomic status (SES) elementary school students.
Attendance is a mediator of lowered achievement and that commonly suspected school-level characteristics do not predict homeless student success.
Although some school-level factors are significant predictors of non-homeless students’ test scores, none of the school characteristics are significant when there is an interaction with housing status, indicating that there is no relationship between the percentage of homeless/highly mobile students in a school, the overall percentage of students in poverty, the enrollment of the school, or the overall achievement level of students at the school and homeless/highly mobile students’ math or languages arts test scores.
Housing status is not an important predictor of academic achievement in either language arts or math.
Journal Article Empirical Research
Academic Achievement, Housing, Language, Math, Poverty, SES, Urban Schools
Method of Analysis:
Fixed Effects Regression Models
3rd- 5th graders
Unit of Analysis:
This study used administrative data provided by the education department of a large Northeastern city. Student test scores, demographics, and housing status data were provided for the 2007-2008 and 2008-2009 school years.
Data from third through fifth grades were included in the analyses.
IV: The main Independent variable is Homelessness. It is measured by school records of when students or parents tell the school that they are in temporary housing, the verification involves contacting the shelter and making sure students are indeed living there.
DV: standardized test scores in language arts and mathematics.
Control Variables: race/ethnicity, free lunch (used as a measure of poverty), attendance rates, participation in special education programs.
School Variables: Percentage of school population that is homelessness or highly mobile, the schools poverty rate (based on parents income), total enrollment, average overall student test score in the given subject.