Degree Date

2-2017

Document Type

Dissertation - Public Access

Degree Name

Ed.D. Doctor of Education

Academic Discipline

Educational Leadership

First Advisor

Dr. Norm Weston

Abstract

The purpose of this case study was to better understand the reasons behind the apparent continued success of a blended learning educational model in place since 2012 in the Illinois Department of Juvenile Justice (IDJJ). Using a mixed methods approach, data were gathered and analyzed from a variety of records, reports, and other documentation that included: diplomas awarded, courses taken, course completion, enrollment trends, student mobility rates, GED testing information, and special education student enrollment and performance. Data were also gathered through classroom observations and individual and group interviews with the IDJJ district superintendent, principals, and teachers at six different IDJJ facilities. Findings were that implementation of a blended delivery model in the IDJJ sites corresponded with significantly increased traditional diploma and GED graduation rates, as well as perceptions of teachers and administrators of their increased efficacy, satisfaction, and ability to meet the unique needs of incarcerated youth. These findings are particularly important given the correlation between educational achievement and recidivism. Findings also indicated great promise for using blended learning to address the challenges related to transience, special education needs, and a student’s history of school difficulties and failure that pose potential roadblocks for so many incarcerated youth. It was concluded that the success of the IDJJ Blended Learning Model is due to a uniquely designed student-centric approach to learning that is characterized by four personal practices: perceptions, pathways, partnerships, and progress. Recommendations flow from these findings.

Comments

TABLE OF CONTENTS

ABSTRACT iv

ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS................................................................................................ v

LIST OF TABLES xii

LIST OF FIGURES xiii

CHAPTER ONE: INTRODUCTION 1

The Path 3

Illinois Department of Juvenile Justice 7

The IDJJ Blended Learning Model 15

GradPoint: A Personalized Virtual Learning Solution 16

Prescriptive pathway........................................................................................... 17

Sequential pathway.............................................................................................. 17

Flex pathway....................................................................................................... 18

Individual progress monitoring........................................................................... 18

Purpose of the Study 19

Rationale 19

Research Questions 20

Definition of Terms 20

CHAPTER TWO: REVIEW OF THE LITERATURE 23

Personalized Learning 23

Blended Learning 26

Juvenile Justice History and Background 28

Juvenile Education 34

Juvenile Education Utilizing Technology 35

Indicators Needed for High-Quality Juvenile Education 38

CHAPTER THREE: METHODOLOGY 39

Research Questions 39

Case Study Methodology 40

Setting 42

Participants 43

Superintendent..................................................................................................... 43

Principals............................................................................................................. 44

GradPoint Support Coordinator.......................................................................... 45

Blended Learning Teachers................................................................................. 46

Quantitative Data Collection 46

Principal Monthly Report.................................................................................... 47

GradPoint............................................................................................................ 49

Quantitative Data Analysis 50

Qualitative Data Collection 51

Individual Interviews........................................................................................... 52

Group Interviews................................................................................................ 53

Documentation of Interviews.............................................................................. 54

Observations....................................................................................................... 55

Documentation.................................................................................................... 57

Qualitative Data Analysis 57

Individual and Group Interviews......................................................................... 58

Observations....................................................................................................... 59

Summary Data Analysis...................................................................................... 59

Limitations 59

CHAPTER FOUR: FINDINGS 61

Introduction 61

Quantitative Findings 61

Principal Monthly Reports.................................................................................. 61

Results of the Courses in GradPoint and Analysis of Courses........................... 69

Performance........................................................................................................ 73

Utilization Hours................................................................................................. 76

Special Education................................................................................................ 81

License Usage..................................................................................................... 83

Balance of Instruction Between Traditional and Online....................................... 85

Qualitative Findings 87

Overview............................................................................................................. 87

Theme One: This Is a Real School...................................................................... 87

Theme Two: Give the Student What He Needs................................................... 94

Theme Three: Teacher As “Meddler In the Middle”.......................................... 102

Theme Four: Student Takes Responsibility for Learning.................................. 106

Summary of Findings 110

CHAPTER FIVE: CONCLUSION 112

Introduction 112

Discussion of the Findings 113

Personalized Practices in the IDJJ Blended Learning Model 114

Perceptions 115

Pathways 115

Partnerships 116

Progress 117

Recommendations 117

Continue Support of the IDJJ Blended Learning Model 117

Make More Use of Quantitative and Qualitative Data 118

Expand the Model to Other Centers of Juvenile Incarceration 119

Expand Research on Personalized Learning Systems to Regular Schools 119

Reduce Youth Incarceration 120

Final Reflections 120

REFERENCES 123

Appendix A: Interview Questions 131

LIST OF TABLES

Table Page

1. Summary of Number of Interviews and Observations Conducted.......................... 51

2. Annual Average Enrollment for Each Facility and Yearly Total by Year................ 63

3. Special Education Student Enrollment (Annual Average Number).......................... 64

4. Mobility of Students in IDJJ................................................................................... 65

5. Diplomas Awarded.................................................................................................. 66

6. GED Testing Information........................................................................................ 67

7. Licenses Consumed................................................................................................. 84

8. Interactions Observed.............................................................................................. 86

LIST OF FIGURES

Figure Page

1. IDJJ population totals............................................................................................... 9

2. IDJJ population by race and ethnicity in 2014........................................................ 12

3. Charlie’s ideal learning environment....................................................................... 16

4. Blended learning..................................................................................................... 27

5. Course completion.................................................................................................. 69

6. Course status by facility.......................................................................................... 71

7. Course completion trends 2015.............................................................................. 72

8. Number of courses taken by semester.................................................................... 73

9. 2015 prescriptive and sequential pathways distribution.......................................... 74

10. Average passing score of prescriptive and sequential scores by location................ 75

11. Total hours in 2015................................................................................................. 77

12. Coursework hours in 2015 by semester................................................................. 78

13. Coursework hours for 2015 by facility................................................................... 80

14. Special education hours.......................................................................................... 81

15. Percentage score for completed courses for all youth and special education........... 82

16. GradPoint users by month...................................................................................... 84

17. The IDJJ Blended Learning Model key................................................................ 121