Impact of Individualized Learning Plans on Educational Completion Among Incarcerated Youth

Laura Lee D'Anna, Walden University


Interruptions to juvenile detainees' education often delay their progress toward high school completion. Implementing an individualized learning plan (ILP) has been suggested as a solution to this problem. The purpose of this case study was to explore how ILPs facilitate attainment of graduation among incarcerated youth. The study was guided by the Washington State legislative framework for individualized learning plans and the efforts of the Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency to increase educational opportunities. Three research questions were formulated to explore perceptions of local juvenile detention center educators and administrators regarding their experiences in the development, implementation, and effectiveness of ILPs. Qualitative data were collected from interviews with 5 detention center educators, field observations, and document reviews. The examination of the data through the coding process using a matrix enabled descriptions and themes to emerge. Results indicated that ILPs are collaboratively developed and implemented in the detention center, there is a need for professional development related to ILPs, and ILPs have impacted students' education completion.

Results from this study may influence social change by supporting development of ILPs which can result in a higher graduation rate and a reduction in recidivism among the incarcerated youth population.