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Juvenile Justice Education Administrator:
An Occupational Analysis

Bruce Wolford and Carol Cramer Brooks

Abstract (return to top)
Juvenile Justice Education Administrators describe their job as: While insuring the safety and security of staff, students and the community, the Juvenile Justice Education Administrator designs, manages and promotes education for detained and adjudicated youth through effective instructional leadership to provide individualized educational services which help the youth become contributing members of society. The description captures the "two professions" that these educators are operating across: Justice and education. Four of the five most critical tasks identified by the administrators relate to educational responsibilities; however, the safety and security issues remained a critical occupational task. 

Introduction (return to top)
This is the first in a series of reports on multi-system job analyses of various worker groups in the Juvenile Justice System. This effort has been undertaken to provide juvenile justice professionals and agencies with practical, worker-based benchmarks of the duties and tasks of high performing staff. The authors trust that this will generate discussions and comparisons that will lead to improved practices and services in juvenile justice agencies.

The multi-year Juvenile Justice Occupational Analysis Project is a collaborative effort involving the National Juvenile Detention Association, Juvenile Justice Trainers Asssociation, and the Eastern Kentucky University Training Resource Center. 

Overview of the DACUM Job Analysis (return to top)
 There are a variety of techniques and tools that can be used to complete a job analysis (see Table 1).


Table 1:
Method of Job and Task Analysis
Small Group Method This method requires a minimum of three incumbent workers to participate in developing the job and task analysis
Research Method This method requires a worker who is performing the tast and a person trained in job and task analysis to observe and analyze the task
Job Observation Method This method requires a worker who is performing the task and a person trained in job and task analysis to observe and analyze the task

Each of the methods can yield valuable information. The techniques are frequently combined to provide a wide range of data. It is important to verify or validate the initial occupational analysis either through multiple data collections or the use of alternative data collection methods. The validation process provides a check to assure that the data is accurate and remains representative over time and across groups/organizations.

The Juvenile Justice Education Administrator (JJEA) occupational analysis was conducted using a small group method known as DACUM (an acronym derived from Developing A CurriclUM) (Open Entries, 1993). The DACUM Occuaptional Analysis uses focus groups of high performing incumbent workers to describe the duties and tasks which are included in a particular occupation (see Table 2). The DACUM Occuaptional Analysis process yields an occupational profile (see JJEA Competency Profile page 9 ).

Table 2
Identified during "DACUM" Occupational Process
Duty: a general area of competence that successful workers in the occupation must demonstrate or perform on an on-going basis. A duty includes two or more distinct tasks.
Task: a work activity that has a definite beginning and ending, is observable, consist of two or more definite steps and leads to a product, service, or decision.

In addition, the process also provides a job description and a listing of knowledge, skills, and traits needed by high performing workers. Once the profile is completed, the DACUM panelists (six to eight workers per panel) also identify the most critical and frequently performed duties and tasks as well as those in which new and veteran workers are most in need of training or technical assistance (Nolan, 1990).

The DACUM process begins with the identification of a job title and definition and builds in detail/specificity up to and through a task analysis. The inverted pyramid design (see Table 3) provides a graphic representation of the stages in a complete DACUM occupational and task analysis.

Table 3

The occuaptional analysis is led by a neutral facilitator (trained in the DACUM process) and recorder who uses a storyboarding process to record the focus group's comments. Storyboarding, popularized by the Disney Corporation, is a helpful mechanism for capturing the ideas/observations of a small group on paper/index cards and posting the cards on a wall/board in front of the panel members (The McNellis Company, 1991).

In the DACUM storyboarding process, panelists are encouraged to develop duty and task statements that include a verb, modifier and a noun. The storyboard cards are temporarily attached to the wall or board to allow for rapid changes, sequencing and modification. The storyboard process is very fluid, flexible and visual - all of which helps maintain the group's focus on describing their job duties and tasks. 

Validation (return to top)
Subsequent reviews/updates of an existing occuaptional analysis are referred to as validations. The validations are typically one-day workshops where expert workers who with the help of a DACUM facilitator and recorder, revise and edit an existing job profile. The validations are conducted to ensure accuracy, update the analysis or customize the chart to a specific work setting.

Collecting the Data (return to top)
The JJEA profile was developed in June 1998 by a focus group of high performing education administrators from Indiana, Kentucky, Michigan and Ohio. The one-day session resulted in a validation of the 1994 occuaptional analysis conducted by the Kentucky Educational Collaborative for State Agency Children. The initial two-day workshop produced a profile of State Agency School Administration in Kentucky. The Kentucky job profile provided the starting point for the four-state focus group to develop the new profile featured in this report.

Although there were numerous changes between the 1994 and 1998 job profile, many of the alterations were cosmetic in nature and simply resulted in the removal of Kentucky specific terminology. Both the workshop facilitators and panelists felt confident that the revised occupational profile provided an accurate representation of the job of Juvenile Justice Education Administrator.

Training Needs (return to top)
The primary goal of the JJEA Occuaptional Analysis was to use the profile to help develop professional training; however, there are many other uses for DACUM profiles. DACUM charts can be used to help in the evaluation of position descriptions; recruitment, selection and evaluation of personnel; to conduct literacy audits; review organizational structure and interactions; and assist an organization in meeting some of the requirements of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) (Nolan, 1990).

JJEA panel members were asked to review the completed profile and to identify what they believed to be the tasks in which a new worker entering that position would have the greatest need for training. They were also to identify the tasks in which veteran administrators like themselves would have the greatest need for training. Figure 1 indicates the prioritized new coordinator training needs of Juvenile Justice Education Administrators.

Figure 1
Prioritized New Administrator Training Needs for 
Juvenile Justice Education Administrator
Prioritized New Worker Needs
Tasks Knowledge Skills
  • Assess student educational needs Program Evaluation Interpreting information
  • Review statutes and regulations Ed. Statutes & Regulations Management/Supervision
  • Identify sources of federal funding Grant & Proposal Procedures Communication(oral & written)
  • Provide on-going program evaluation Management Practices Conducting meetings
  • Supervise classroom instruction/management Special Ed Laws& Procedures Curriculum development
  • Oversee the IDEA process Educational Systems Negotiation
  • Conduct performance evaluations Planning Techniques Conducting negotiations
  • Coordinating ed. programs w/ other agencies Audit Procedures Report Writing
  • Prepare federal grant applications
  • Participate in staff interviews and selection
  • Plan, monitor & provide on-going staff development
  • Develop school policies and procedures
  • Supervise/coordinate contract providers 
  • Seek & maintain creative funds 
  • Generate reports

Findings (return to top)
The validation of the initial Kentucky profile by the multi-state panel in 1998 indicated that there were significant similarities across jurisdictions and over time in the duties and tasks performed by educational administrators in juvenile justice programs. The panel of educational administrators recorded their duties and tasks and also prioritized the job responsibilities by identifying areas of criticality, frequency and training needs (see Table 4).


Table 4
Criticality: is a measure of job tasks that panelists believe to be essential and/or most important components of a job. 
Frequency: is a measure of job tasks that panelists believed to require the largest time commitments.
Training needs:  is a measure of job tasks that panelists believe should be included in a basic training 

Duties (return to top)
The panel identified eight duties (on-going work responsibilities) of the Juvenile Justice Education Administrator. A prioritized listing of the duties from most to least critical are reported on the job profile (see page 9) and in Figure 2.


Figure 2
Ranking of Critical Duties
of a Juvenile Justice Educator Administrator
Critical Ranking* Duty
1 Plan, develop, & maintain education programs/services
2 Supervise education personnel 
3 Manage fiscal operations
4 Manage the education office functions
5 Represent educational program
6 Manage federal education programs
7 Promote personal & professional development
8 Establish & maintain education philosophy, goals, & objectives
*(1= most critical and 8= least critical)

Tasks (return to top)
The panel of JJEA identified a total of 68 occupational tasks. These tasks were sorted into four prioritized categories: critical, frequent, new and veteran worker training needs (see JJEA Competency Profile page 9).

Critical Tasks (return to top)
The panel identified 18 critical tasks which are listed in prioritized order in Figure 3.


Figure 3
Ranking of Critical Tasks
of Juvenile Justice Education Administrator
Ranking* Identification Task
1 A-1 Assess student educational needs 
2 C-2 Manage budget expenditures 
3 D-7 Ensure compliance with safety & security procedures
4 D-11 Implement collective bargaining agreement
5 E-1 Oversee the IDEA process
6 F-1 Assure compliance w/ applicable policies and laws 
7 G-2 Serve as liason to other agencies
8 H-2 Plan, monitor and provide on-going staff development
9 A-15 Meet with and advise students
10 C-3 Seek & maintain creative funding
11 F-2 Submit/approve payroll documents
12 G-5 Participate in facility wide committees
13 A-4 Supervise curricula implementations
14 A-12 Schedule programs, events, & staff
15 A-16 Aquire educational resources
16 C-1 Develop budget
17 D-3 Assign duties & responsibilities
18 E-3 Prepare federal grant applications
*(1=most critical)

Frequently Performed Tasks (return to top)
Juvenile Justice Education Administrators serving on the DACUM panels were asked to identify those job tasks to which they devoted the most time. Figure 4 provides a rank ordering of tasks identified by education administrators as most frequently performed.


Figure 4
Ranking of Frequently Performed Tasks
of Juvenile Justice Education Administration
Ranking* Identification Task
1 A-1 Assess student educational needs
2 B-1 Schedule programs, events & staff
3 C-1 Develop budget
4 D-1 Develop and implement a staffing plan
5 E-1 Oversee the IDEA process
6 F-1 Assure compliance w/all applicable policies, regulations, and laws
7 G-1 Communicate with parents
8 H-1 Participate in training for personal/prof. develop.

Application (return to top)
You may be asking yourself: What are the practical applications of this information? Let us suggest a few applications.

The job analysis provides a benchmark for job responsibilities. A clear, concise and understandable job profile can communicate an effective message to workers about the job expectations. 

Customized Job Profile:
A generic job profile can be customized to reflect local demands.

Job Description Development:
The development of meaningful job descriptions can be more easily constructed with access to a worker based job profile. 

Professional Development:
The foundation for a competency based training program is a job analysis. Good training grows from good information.

Profile Review:
Reviews of job profiles with agency administrators can provide valuable information for the establishment and revision of policy. 

(return to top)
This and subsequent Juvenile Justice Occupational profiles are intended to inform best practice in the profession. Quality front line workers provide the best basis upon which to begin a job analysis. The authors trust that the information included in this report will provide useful information to both education and Juvenile Justice professionals.

About the Authors (return to top)

Dr. Bruce I Wolford
Dr. Bruce Wolford is the director of the Training Resource Center and a Professor of Correctional Services. The Center provides training, research and evaluation services to local, state and federal criminal justice, human services and education agencies. He earned his Ph. D. from Ohio State Unversity. He joined the College of Law Enforcement in 1979. Dr. Wolford worked for five years in the Ohio Department of Rehabilitation and Corrections, and two years in public education prior to coming to EKU. Dr. Wolford has served as the President of the Correctional Education Association, Editor of the Journal of Correctional Education, and member of the American Correctional Association Board of Governers. Areas of specialization include offender education, correctional administration, juvenile justice, staff development and training, meeting facilitation and occupational analysis. Dr. Wolford has worked in education and criminal justice profession for the past 25 years. 

Carol Cramer Brooks
Carol Cramer Brooks has participated in juvenile detention education and detention programming since 1982. Currently, she holds the position of Director of Training for the National Juvenile Detention Association's Center for Research and Professional Development at Michigan State University. In this capacity, she coordinates and delivers training for trainers, line staff, and first line supervisors in juvenile detention and corrections facilities. A member of NJDA's education committee, Carol is leading the drive to include detention and corrections educators in the membership of NJDA through the formation of a Council for Educators. She is also a co-author of a National Training Curriculum for Educators of Youth in Confinement, an initiative sponsored by OJJDP, scheduled for completion in Spring, 1999.

Prior to her position with NJDA, Carol taught in the education programs at the Kalamazoo and Allegan County Juvenile facilities in Michigan. In both facilities, Carol was involved in program and 
curriculum planning and implementation. She was a member of the start-up team for the Intensive Learning Center at the Kalamazoo County Juvenile Home and was instrumental in the move to incorporate Lifeskills training in the school and detention programs.

Carol received her MA in Public Administration- Program Planning and Design and her BS in special education- Emotionally Impaired from Western Michigan University. She completed the Harvard Negotiation Project as well as conflict resolution training from the New Mexico Center for Conflict Resolution and the Dispute Resolution Center in Kalamazoo, Michigan. 

Carol is a volunteer educational/administrative consultant and presenter for The Way Out Christian Academy in Hawaiian Gardens, California. The Academy is part of The Way Out Ministries supported by the Reformed Church of America.

REFERENCES (return to top)

    Nolan, T.D., The DACUM Process, Training Manual, Cincinnati Technical College, 1990.

    Open Entries, "The DACUM Connection", Center of Education and Training for Employment, The Ohio StateUniversity, Vol. 3, No. 1, 1993.

    The McNellis Company, An Experience in Creating Planning, New Brighton, Pennsylavania, 1991.

    Halasz, I.M., Task Analysis, National Institute of Corrections Academy, Longmont, Colorado, June 1993.

    For further information regarding the DACUM Occupational Analysis Process Contact

    Training Resource Center
    College of Law Enforcement
    300 Stratton Building
    521 Lancaster Avenue
    Eastern Kentucky University
    Richmond, KY 40475-3102
    (606) 622-1498/ FAX (606) 622-6399
159 Burgin Parkway
Quincy, MA 02169
(617) 471 4445

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