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Examining the association between changes in state discipline policy and reductions in exclusionary discipline

Region:
Northwest
Abstract:

Description: In 2013, Oregon policymakers passed a law requiring districts to implement school discipline policies that reduce the overuse and disproportionate use of suspensions and expulsions and instead consider the student's developmental level, past behavior, and circumstances of the discipline incident when assigning disciplinary actions. Although district and school leaders have worked to implement this new policy, there has been no study comparing exclusionary discipline trends before and after its enactment.

This study will provide Oregon policymakers and school districts with information on changes in student discipline outcomes overall and by gender, race/ethnicity, free or reduced-price lunch status, and eligibility for special education or Section 504 services. The study will also examine how the percentage of students receiving exclusionary discipline—as well as the length of time and types of offenses for suspensions and expulsions—varied by school characteristics. The findings should help Oregon policymakers identify areas that may need additional guidance and support to achieve desired school discipline outcomes. The study may also be of interest to other states that are considering changing their school discipline policies.

Research Questions:

  1. What is the association between the 2013 Oregon policy change and the percentage of students who were suspended and expelled in schools serving elementary (K–5), middle (6–8), or high school (9–12) grades?
  2. What is the association between the 2013 Oregon policy change and the length of time that students were suspended and expelled in schools serving elementary (K–5), middle (6–8), or high school (9–12) grades?
  3. What is the association between the 2013 Oregon policy change and the reasons that discipline incidents result in suspension and expulsion in schools serving elementary (K–5), middle (6–8), or high school (9–12) grades?
  4. How do observed changes in discipline outcomes associated with the 2013 Oregon policy change vary by school characteristics (size, minority student enrollment, socioeconomic status, locale)?

Study Design: For this descriptive study, REL Northwest researchers will use an interrupted time-series design to examine the association between shifts in Oregon state-level policy passed in 2013 and changes in exclusionary discipline trends at the local level from 2008/09 through 2016/17.

Projected Release Date: Summer 2020

Partnership or Research Alliance: Equity in School Discipline Collaborative

Related Products: Product 1: What's Happening report
Product 2: Stated Briefly report

Principal Investigators & Affiliation:
David Stevens and Vicki Nishioka, REL Northwest at Education Northwest
Contact: