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School and classroom discipline practices in Oregon: A descriptive study

Region:
Northwest
Abstract:

Description: The many discipline reform initiatives being implemented across the United States have created an urgent need to study longitudinal changes in the use of non-exclusionary and exclusionary discipline practices. Non-exclusionary discipline actions do not remove students from their regular classroom instruction. Exclusionary discipline actions remove students from their regular classroom instruction through in-school suspension, out-of-school suspension, or expulsion. In 2013, the Oregon Legislature enacted a policy that required districts to increase non-exclusionary discipline actions and eliminate disproportionality in exclusionary discipline. Two years later, legislators limited the use of suspensions for students in grades K–5 to incidents that were direct threats to school safety.

This study will describe changes in both non-exclusionary and exclusionary discipline actions from 2011/12 to 2017/18 in Oregon elementary schools that have prioritized improving school discipline. Understanding the longitudinal trends of office discipline actions overall and by racial/ethnic group will help policymakers and practitioners make judgements about the state's progress toward reducing exclusionary discipline overall and eliminating disproportionality in discipline practices.

This study will also address a gap in school discipline research by examining the discipline actions for all office referrals in participating schools, including actions that do not remove students from classroom instruction (most studies on school discipline report findings on only the use of exclusionary discipline). By analyzing both non-exclusionary and exclusionary discipline, findings will provide policymakers and practitioners with a more complete picture of how school discipline is applied in participating schools serving grades K–5.

Research Questions:

  1. From 2011/12 to 2017/18, what were the trends in the annual average rates of total discipline actions, non-exclusionary discipline actions, and exclusionary discipline actions among students enrolled in Oregon public elementary schools implementing the Positive Behavioral Interventions and Supports (PBIS) framework? How did these trends differ by racial/ethnic group?
  2. From 2011/12 to 2017/18, what were the trends, by behavioral infraction category, in the annual average rates of total office discipline actions, non-exclusionary discipline actions, and exclusionary discipline actions among students enrolled in Oregon public elementary schools implementing the PBIS framework? How did these trends differ by racial/ethnic group?
  3. From 2011/12 to 2017/18, what were the trends in the likelihood that students referred to the office for disciplinary reasons received an exclusionary discipline action (versus a non-exclusionary discipline action), given the behavioral infraction category, characteristics of the referred student, and characteristics of their school?

Study Design: For research questions 1 and 2, REL Northwest researchers will describe longitudinal trends in the annual average rates (number of office discipline actions per 100 students in a given year) of all discipline actions, non-exclusionary discipline actions, and exclusionary discipline actions overall and by racial/ethnic groups. For research question 3, researchers will use multilevel modeling to examine the contribution of the category of behavioral infraction, characteristics of the referred student, and characteristics of their school on the likelihood that students received an exclusionary versus non-exclusionary discipline action from 2011/12 to 2017/18.

Projected Release Date: Spring 2021

Partnership or Research Alliance: Equity in School Discipline Collaborative

Related Products: What's Happening? report

Principal Investigators & Affiliation:
Vicki Nishioka and Alexandra Aylward, REL Northwest at Education Northwest