Purpose: This paper attempted to profile the contemporary grade level academic performance as well as the frequency, spread and intensity of problem behaviour in relation to a few associated variables, of children adjudged as juvenile delinquents in India.
Method: A cross-sectional exploratory survey design was employed, with randomised convenience sampling of 66 inmates, between 9 and 18 years of age, from two representative Observation Homes. To ascertain their current grade levels, a criterion referenced ‘Grade Level Assessment Protocol’ was prepared exclusively for this study. Another standardised ‘Behaviour Assessment Scale for Indian Children with Mental Retardation, Part B’ was used to profile their problem behaviour.
Results: The contemporary academic performance results satisfy the conventional two-grade discrepancy criteria, usually postulated for identifying children with learning disabilities. Among the associated variables examined in this study, inmates who were booked under sections of the Indian Penal Code showed significantly greater academic grade discrepancy compared to the other children. Similarly, poorer academic performance, greater grade discrepancy, as well as higher frequency, spread and intensity of reported problem behaviour were found among children from intact family backgrounds, where parents were illiterates or educated below primary school level, and more among boys than girls, and among those in the 10-12 year age group.
Conclusions: While these are tentative findings, they call attention to the need for extensive research on the possible links between academic performance, under achievement and learning disabilities, and juvenile delinquency in this country.