6 Major Findings from the Texas Juvenile Justice Department Performance Assessment Report

Texas FlagThe Texas Juvenile Justice Department released an encouraging report detailing the success of their Juvenile Justice Alternative Education Programs (JJAEPs). These programs have been providing education for students expelled from traditional schools since the 1996-1997 school year.
The Texas Juvenile Justice Department found that the JJAEP has been improving over the past several years--test scores are up, costs are down, and behavior has improved. See the list below for details on the report’s major findings (via the report):

1. JJAEP Student Population Has Declined.
Since school year 2006-2007, the number of JJAEP student entries has declined by 38%. Between school years 2006-2007 and 2010-2011, the number of mandatory expulsion entries decreased 31% while discretionary entries decreased 47%. Proportionately the age, grade level, expulsion offense and race of students remained mostly unchanged.
2. Average Length of Stay has Declined
The average length of stay during school year 2010-2011 for all students exiting the JJAEP was 78 school days compared to 85 during the school year 2008-2009.
3. Texas Assessment of Knowledge and Skills (TAKS) Scores have Improved
JJAEP students are administered the TAKS statewide assessment instrument. The average passing rate for reading/ELA was 68.8% compared to 38.2% for math. The overall passing rates are up from 67.6% in reading/ELA and 34.5% for math in school year 2008-2009.
4. Pre and Post Testing.
Pre and post testing is utilized as a measure to demonstrate student gains in the areas of math and reading while in a JJAEP using the Iowa Test of Basic Skills (ITBS) and the Iowa Test of Educational Development (ITED). The average grade equivalency results for both math and reading increased by nearly one grade from admission to exit.
5. Behavior has Improved
Improvement in student behavior upon returning to their home school is used as another indicator of JJAEPs performance. Statewide, the proportion of absences during the two six-week periods prior to and after program participation declined by 16.7%. Statewide, the average number of disciplinary incidents declined 52.6% in the two six-week periods after
students exited the JJAEP.
6. Cost of Operation has Declined
The cost per day during the school year 2010-2011 varied from a range of $81.90 to a high of $381.46 per day as compared to $85.40 to a high of $555.59 per day during the 2008-2009 school year. Total expenditures for JJAEPs during the 2010-2011 school year declined by approximately $5.6 million from the 2008-2009 school year. The cost of JJAEPs vary from county to county based on an array of factors including program size, program design, facilities, attendance, and services.

juvenile-justice-system_David-BackesDavid Backes writes the Friday news roundup for Reclaiming Futures and contributes articles about juvenile justice reform and adolescent substance abuse treatment to ReclaimingFutures.org. He has a bachelor’s degree in sociology from Santa Clara University. David works as an account executive for Prichard Communications.

Updated: February 08 2018