The ever-changing implementations of assessing our students have driven instruction to focus on measuring academic growth for school improvement. Now that most of our nation has adopted the common core state standards to educate and prepare our students for college and career, the challenges will be even greater for those who are currently struggling such as many of the incarcerated youth. According to the Juvenile Court Schools (JCS) fact sheet (Los Angeles County Office of Education; LACOE, 2012), many of the incarcerated youth generally "have serious gaps in their education and poor academic skills" (JCS Facts, bullet No. 4). Taking academic assessments can be challenging without external factors, but add in the fact that the student may be facing a life sentence in prison, placement in a group home or foster care facility away from family, or dealing with mental health issues drives the challenge of academic growth sometimes out of reach while incarcerated. Furthermore, the short period of stay in the incarcerated juvenile facility adds an even greater challenge to success or growth in their academic progress. This study examined the challenges of measuring academic growth of incarcerated youth in a juvenile hall school facility. Through the use of mixed methods, a review of available student assessment data - increased frequent formative assessments, utilizing components of the RISE Educational Services and Total Educational Systems Support (TESS) Focused Adaptable- Structure Teaching (F.A.S.T.) Framework within the teacher's delivery of direct instruction - along with an online survey of the teachers' ability to collaborate in Professional Learning Communities (PLCs), and a focus group with those who spearheaded the implementation of the instructional method, teacher-leads and administrators, resulted in finding that a unique instructional method is needed for those students attending school in an incarcerated juvenile facility to measure academic growth. The qualitative and quantitative data measured what needed to be continued, what needed to be stopped and what should be implemented regarding the instructional delivery, along with pre/post assessments of students who attended the incarcerated juvenile school facility and the dimensions of PLCs.

Library of Congress Subject Headings

Dissertations (EdD) -- Learning technologies; Juvenile delinquents -- Education -- California; Educational change -- California; Academic achievement

Date of Award


School Affiliation

Graduate School of Education and Psychology



Degree Type


Degree Name


Faculty Advisor

Barner, Robert R.;