Early Childhood Report Roundup

Adopted Students

By Lillian Mongeau — October 20, 2015 1 min read

The school behavior and academic performance of adopted children lags behind their peers who are not adopted, concludes a report from the Institute for Family Studies.

The report author, Nicholas Zill, a retired psychologist and researcher, analyzed data from a federal longitudinal study of 19,000 children, including 160 who had been adopted.

He found that adopted children behave worse and do worse academically in kindergarten and 1st grade than students who are not adopted. Zill said that outcome was not the fault of adoptive parents, who tend to be well-off and especially interested in their children’s welfare. Rather, he writes, it could be the result of poor attachment to the child’s biological parents, early traumatic experiences, or genetics.

He found that adopted kindergartners were ranked by teachers in the 66th percentile for problem behavior, while children from two-parent homes were ranked in the 45th percentile. (The 50th percentile is considered average.) Similar gaps were noted on measures of early reading and math skills.

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A version of this article appeared in the October 21, 2015 edition of Education Week as Adopted Students

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