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Sept. 6, 2011
Evaluation Cites Effectiveness of Judicial College Education

Supreme Court of Ohio Judicial College courses are effective at contributing to changes in knowledge, attitudes and skills, a new study has found.

The evaluation conducted by The Ohio State University examined the impact of professional development courses on juvenile judges and magistrates that were delivered from June 2010 to June 2011.

“This study is our first attempt at a rigorous examination, under academic research standards, of the effectiveness of our collective body of work to educate our judges,” said Judicial College Director Milt Nuzum. “It is gratifying to have this solid evidence affirming that the work we do makes a positive impact on the quality of justice dispensed in the courts of Ohio.”

OSU College of Education and Human Ecology Associate Professor Ann A. O’Connell led the evaluation, assisted by graduate student Joy Edington, and delivered the findings to the Judicial College Board of Trustees recently. The study was made possible by a federal grant.

The evaluation “also found evidence that juvenile judges form a strong Community of Practice through their participation in Judicial College courses and activities. This community serves as a catalyst for development of judicial expertise among juvenile judges and through which the effectiveness of judicial education is enhanced.”

In addition, OSU issued recommendations “to leverage the knowledge-sharing and learning that occurs within that community” by cultivating the community and offered ideas to enhance the delivery of judicial education.

“The Judicial College’s pursuit of excellence in their activities and course offerings was the impetus for this evaluation,” Professor O’Connell said. “We found that the judicial education provided through the Judicial College does promote excellence and expertise among both new and experienced juvenile judges. Our hope is that these findings will contribute to local as well as national-level discussions about the fundamental role of evaluation in the design and delivery of professional development for juvenile judges.”