Risk and Protective Factors for Educational Achievement Among Serious Offending Girls
- This research was supported by grants from the Canadian Institutes of Health Research (#54020 and #84567) and the Virginia Department of Juvenile Justice. The opinions expressed are those of the authors and not of the funding agencies. The authors thank Co-Investigators Drs. Marlene Moretti and Candice Odgers; the Gender and Aggression Research Team–Virginia Site members Drs. Mandi Burnette and Emily Marston; those at the Virginia Department of Juvenile Justice who supported this research (Drs. Dennis Waite, Dale Schulz, and Molly Alcott; Scott Reiner, Jessica Turfboer, and William Brock); the many research assistants who helped coordinate data collection; and the young women who participated in the Gender and Aggression Project.
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Using longitudinal data, this analysis: (1) documented educational outcomes for serious offending girls, and (2) identified risk and protective factors associated with academic achievement in mid-adolescence and degree attainment by early adulthood. In mid-adolescence, girls performed nearly one standard deviation below the population mean on academic achievement tests. Low IQ and special education needs were strong correlates of poor academic achievement, but living in a highly educated neighborhood was associated with higher academic achievement scores. By early adulthood, 62.7% of girls had received a General Educational Development (GED) or high school degree, and mid-adolescent academic achievement was the strongest predictor of degree attainment. Results suggest a need for early academic intervention targeting individual and neighborhood factors among offending girls.