Education, Summer 2003 Content Level = Advanced
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A major social problem in the United States today has to do with the high school and college freshmen drop-out of students. Our prisons are filled with one million high school drop-out students, and another millions of largely college drop-out students. The present study used The Personal Development Test to serve as the basis for identifying the at-risk students for drop-out purposes using incarcerated juvenile delinquents and prison inmates test scores. A drop-out prevention program was developed to prevent such drop out of at-risk students at both the high school and college freshmen levels.
Today we have one million high school dropout students in our prisons, and another million that have not gone to college, with large sampling of African American and Spanish American students present. These two populations have a lower literacy rate than do the rest of the prison population. Our prison population has doubled in the last 10 years, and continues to increase. The use and involvement of alcohol and drugs as the basis for imprisonment is excessive; for example, in San Diego last year 4 our of every 5 arrests involved alcohol and drugs.
High School and College Drop-out Norm Base
The Prison Population serves as an excellent high school and college dropout norm base; since half of the prison population represent high school dropouts,i.e., individuals who have failed to graduate form high school. Few of the other million prison inmates have graduated from college; so they represent a dropout in relation to college as well. Therefore, our prison population serves as an excellent basis for predicting high school and college dropout purposes.
Global Functioning as Personal Development
In 1983 The American Psychiatric Association appointed 26 Advisory Committees with over 200 members to study and revise the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders. Three national field trials were conducted of criteria proposed for assessing the mental and physical health of individuals (DSM-III-R, 1987) Then in 1992 after that material was used for nearly a decade the American Psychiatric Association appointed 13 Work Groups representing medical specialists in every area possible that revised the materials and made suggestions for change to the Task Force of 27 members who developed the final DSM-IV manual and which became a part of ICD-10 (DSM-IV, 1994). An important element in the diagnostic process that was developed was a Global Assessment Functioning Scale (GAF). It consists of a 5 points ranging from Inadequate Information, through Serious Symptoms, to Superior Functioning. Today, that scale serves as the primary index for which an individual is functioning in h/her daily life around the world. It is one of the greatest studies of all times, and shows clearly that the Global Functioning of Individuals is based largely on their "Personal Development." The DSM-IV is in full agreement with Third Force Psychology and the work of both Rogers (1945) and Maslow (1959) (Cassel, 2000).
The Personal Development Test (PDT)
The Personal Development Test (PDT) was designed to provide a functional basis for assessing the Global Functioning of individuals, and it is based on John Dewey's definition of a Democracy--The Interdependence of independent individuals (Dewey, 1938). The test is comprised of 200 true/false items, with 25 in each of the 8 part scores. The first four of those scores measure Personal Maturity for the Independence portion of the Dewey definition, and the second four measure Social Integration for the Interdependence element.
2. Coping Skills--COP
3. Positive Assertiveness--ASS
4. Locus of Control--LOC
5. Team Member-TEA