Helms School of Government
Doctor of Philosophy
juvenile offenders, juvenile correctional education, academic achievement, social cognitive theory, self-efficacy theory
Education | Social and Behavioral Sciences
Christian, Deneil D., "The Lived Educational Experiences in Juvenile Facilities: Perspectives of Former Juvenile Offenders" (2021). Doctoral Dissertations and Projects. 3078.
The purpose of this study was to explore the experience of earning a high school diploma or equivalent in a juvenile correctional facility in Pennsylvania. Bandura’s social cognitive theory (SCT) and self-efficacy theory provided the theoretical framework for the study. The two research questions were: 1) How do former youth offenders describe their lived experiences of obtaining a high school diploma or equivalent in a juvenile correctional facility in Pennsylvania? 2) How do former youth offenders describe their self-efficacy in completing their high school diploma or equivalent while they were in a juvenile correctional facility in Pennsylvania? This qualitative study employed a hermeneutic phenomenology research design. Purposeful criterion and snowball sampling was used to recruit ten former juvenile offenders in Pennsylvania for this study. Data were collected through a survey, one-on-one semi-structured interviews, and reflexive memos. The data analysis process involved coding using NVivo 12 Plus and thematic development. Five main themes emerged from the data: 1) Academic Support, 2) Curriculum and Instruction, 3) Student Motivation, 4) Community Reintegration, and 5) Capability. The findings revealed that having access to academic support was crucial to the participants’ educational experiences. The results also indicated that self-efficacy beliefs and motivation were present among all participants. Implications of the study’s findings, limitations, and recommendations for future research are also discussed.