Disproportionality Reduction in Exclusionary School Discipline: A Best-Evidence Synthesis
Review of Educational Research
A full canon of empirical literature shows that students who are African American, Latinx, or American Indian/Alaskan Native, and students who are male, diagnosed with disabilities, or from low socioeconomic backgrounds are more likely to experience exclusionary discipline practices in U.S. schools. Though there is a growing commitment to mitigating discipline disparities through alternative programming, it is clear that disproportionality in the application of harmful discipline practices persists. The purpose of this literature synthesis was to examine the effectiveness of empirically studied school-based interventions in reducing disproportionality in discipline practices. We analyzed articles that assessed both prevention and intervention program effects using at least one outcome variable representing exclusionary discipline, either in the form of office discipline referrals or suspension/expulsion rates. Included studies used experimental, quasi-experimental, or observational research designs that disaggregated student outcomes by race, ethnicity, gender, disability, or other sociodemographic categories. We identified 20 articles meeting inclusion criteria, four of which provided direct evidence of disproportionality reduction using interaction terms. Results indicate limited evidence that available programs reduce discipline disparities and that common programs may function as a protective factor for White and female students while failing to do so for marginalized students. Findings identify promising areas for future research.
discipline gap, disproportionality, exclusionary discipline, suspension
Rebecca A. Cruz, Allison R. Firestone, and Janelle E. Rodl. "Disproportionality Reduction in Exclusionary School Discipline: A Best-Evidence Synthesis" Review of Educational Research (2021): 397-431. https://doi.org/10.3102/0034654321995255