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Date of Award


Document Type

Dissertation - Pacific Access Restricted

Degree Name

Doctor of Education (Ed.D.)


Educational and Counseling Psychology

First Advisor

Judith Hoorn

First Committee Member

Mari Irvin

Second Committee Member

Rachelle Hackett

Third Committee Member

Vivian Snyder

Fourth Committee Member

Sanford Dietzen


The present study addressed the lack of cognitive assessment instruments in the educational settings of adolescent and young adult students who are incarcerated in juvenile correctional institutions. The purpose of the study was to develop and validate a verbal problem solving questionnaire. The design of the Everyday Problem Questionnaire (EPQ) was based on a model and testing method for assessing cognitive development throughout the life-span. The study was conducted in two phases. In the first phase, the Everyday Problem Questionnaire was developed from descriptions of everyday life problems that were submitted in writing by 47 randomly-chosen males, aged 18 through 24 years, who were incarcerated in a high security state youth correctional institution. A second group of 25 randomly-chosen students from the same institution, rated the life problems on four criteria: (a) typicality, (b) personal experience, (c) interest level and, (d) level of difficulty. Nine problems were included in the final Everyday Problem Questionnaire. In the second phase, the new Everyday Problem Questionnaire was administered to a group of 54 randomly-chosen late adolescent and young adult males who were incarcerated. Four commonly used measures of cognitive ability and achievement were also administered, the Kaufman Adolescent and Adult Intelligence Test, the Test of Non-verbal Intelligence-Two, Second Edition, and the Woodcock-Johnson Tests of Achievement-Revised for reading and mathematics. The Everyday Problem Questionnaire responses were scored by three educators from the institution, who received training on an experimental scoring system that was a model of problem solving that included five steps. The other measurements were scored by a professional school psychologist. In the analyses of the first phase ratings indicated that the EPQ was shown to consist of life problems representative of adolescents and young adult males who have been incarcerated. Subsequent validation of the EPQ scoring system was not successful in the second phase of the study due to inconsistent inter-rater reliability. Consequently, the instrument could not be compared with results on other tests of cognition and achievement. Specific suggestions are made for designing a more reliable and stable scoring system. Issues regarding research and institutional access to students in a high-security youth corrections institutional setting are also discussed.




9780599130685 , 0599130687

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