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NCJRS Abstract

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NCJ Number: 77792 Find in a Library
Title: Once Is Too Much, Part 1 - Educational Testing in a Correctional Facility
Journal: Journal of Correctional Education  Volume:32  Issue:4  Dated:(June 1981)  Pages:4-8
Author(s): F P Besag; J B Greene
Date Published: 1981
Page Count: 5
Format: Article
Language: English
Country: United States of America
Annotation: This article criticizes the use of standardized achievement tests at juvenile correctional facilities and suggests an alternative method for diagnosing and caring for the educational needs of incarcerated juveniles.
Abstract: The researchers examined the testing and educational training practices at a State juvenile facility housing 317 male delinquents between the ages of 12 and 18. Standardized tests, including the California Achievement Test and Cattell's Culture Fair test for intelligence, were administered at a reception center where conditions were not conducive to concentration or high scores. Both the circumstances and the place of testing were considered to constitute a nonstandard testing situation in which testing was unwarranted. Furthermore, both these and later standardized tests, which were held under standardized conditions to determine special education needs, were considered inappropriate for an incarcerated population since the inmates had little in common with the standardization population of the tests. In general, the youths had histories of criminal involvement and truancy, and 90 percent were not expected to return to public schools. Their value systems did not include delayed gratification and respect for authority figures. Besides significant differences in demographic characteristics, differences were also noted in test score norms. The researchers also criticized the use of such test results in determining which youths should be released from custody. Suggested improvements include the use of criterion-referenced tests whose sole purpose is diagnosis and the requirement that youths be retained in custody until they have completed a GED diploma to increase the chances of their success upon release. For those unable to complete a GED diploma, facilities should offer education and survival skills, such as drug and alcohol abuse, job and credit application, hygiene, and consumer awareness. Further data and recommendations are included in the text. A reference list is not provided.
Index Term(s): Diagnostic and reception processing; Educational levels; Inmate academic education; Inmate classification; Juvenile correctional facilities; Remedial education; Testing and measurement
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