Impact of Homelessness on School Readiness Skills and Early Academic Achievement: A Systematic Review of the Literature
- 238 Downloads
A systematic review of research exploring the impact of homelessness on young children’s school readiness skills in preschool and academic performance in early elementary school is presented. Fourteen studies were identified that included data exploring this association in preschool through Grade 3. Findings indicated that children experiencing homelessness have lower school readiness skills and academic achievement compared to the general population of children. However, it was not conclusive whether children experiencing homelessness perform lower than socio-demographically matched housed children. Most large studies (> 4000 children) found children experiencing homelessness had lower academic performance than housed low-income children. However, fewer than half of small studies (< 300 children) found support for this association. Good school attendance, high quality parenting, self-regulation, and early education are among several potential protective factors discussed in the literature that may lessen the negative impact of homelessness on school readiness skills and academic achievement in early elementary school.
KeywordsHomelessness School readiness Academic achievement Preschool Elementary school
I would like to acknowledge and thank Kelly Moon Allison for her input and suggestions on an earlier draft.
This project has been funded (in part) by the Missouri Department of Social Services under a contract awarded to the University of Missouri.
Compliance with Ethical Standards
Conflict of interest
The authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.
The contents do not necessarily reflect the views and policies of the Missouri Department of Social Services, nor does mention of trade names or commercial products constitute endorsement or recommendation for use.
This article does not contain any studies with human participants or animals performed by any of the authors.
Informed consent is not an element of review papers such as this because there are no participants from whom data are collected.
*Indicates the study was used in the systematic review
- Casey, E. C., Finsaas, M., Carlson, S. M., Zelazo, P. D., Murphy, B., Durkin, F., et al. (2014). Promoting resilience through executive function training for homeless and highly mobile preschoolers. In Resilience interventions for youth in diverse populations (pp. 133–158). New York: Springer.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
- CTB/McGraw-Hill. (1997). TerraNova. Monterey, CA: CTB/ McGraw-Hill.Google Scholar
- Duffield, B., & Lovell, P. (2008). The economic crisis hits home: The unfolding increase in child & youth homelessness. Washington, DC: The National Association for the Education of Homeless Children and Youth; First Focus.Google Scholar
- Good, R. H., & Kaminski, R. A. (2002). Dynamic indicators of basic early literacy skills (6th ed.). Eugene, OR: Institute for the Development of Educational Achievement.Google Scholar
- National Center for Homeless Education. (2012). Education for homeless children and youth program: Data collection summary. Greensboro: National Center for Homeless Education.Google Scholar
- National Research Council. (2010). Student mobility: Exploring the impact of frequent moves on achievement: Summary of a workshop. Washington, DC: National Academies Press.Google Scholar
- *Obradović, J., Long, J. D., Cutuli, J. J., Chan, C. K., Hinz, E., Heistad, D., et al. (2009). Academic achievement of homeless and highly mobile children in an urban school district: Longitudinal evidence on risk, growth, and resilience. Development and Psychopathology, 21, 493–518.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
- Office of Head Start. (2015). Reports to Congress. Retrieved from http://eclkc.ohs.acf.hhs.gov/hslc/data/rc.
- Rog, D. J., & Buckner, J. C. (2007). Homeless families and children. In Toward understanding homelessness: The 2007 National Symposium, Vol. 4.Google Scholar
- *Rubin, D. H., Erickson, C. J., San Agustin, M., Cleary, S. D., Allen, J. K., & Cohen, P. (1996). Cognitive and academic functioning of homeless children compared with housed children. Pediatrics, 97, 289–294.Google Scholar
- Samuels, J., Shinn, M., & Buckner, J. C. (2010). Homeless children: Update on research, policy, programs, and opportunities. Washington, DC: Office of the Assistant Secretary for Planning and Evaluation, US Department of Health and Human Services.Google Scholar
- Scanlon, E., & Devine, K. (2001). Residential mobility and youth well-being: Research, policy, and practice issues. Journal of Sociology and Social Welfare, 28, 119–138.Google Scholar
- U.S. Department of Education. (2006). Report to the President and Congress on the implementation of the Education for Homeless Children and Youth Program under the McKinney-Vento Homeless Assistance Act. Washington, DC: U.S. Department of Education.Google Scholar
- U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development: Office of Community Planning and Development. (2009). The 2008 annual homeless assessment report to Congress. Washington, DC: U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development: Office of Community Planning and Development.Google Scholar
- *Ziesemer, C., Marcoux, L., & Marwell, B. E. (1994). Homeless children: Are they different from other low-income children? Social Work, 39, 658–668.Google Scholar