WWC review of this study

Can Restorative Practices Improve School Climate and Curb Suspensions? An Evaluation of the Impact of Restorative Practices in a Mid-Sized Urban School District. Research Report. RR-2840-DOJ.

Augustine, Catherine H.; Engberg, John; Grimm, Geoffrey E.; Lee, Emma; Wang, Elaine Lin; Christianson, Karen; Joseph, Andrea A. (2018). RAND Corporation. Retrieved from: https://eric.ed.gov/?id=ED594828

  • Randomized Controlled Trial
     examining 
    17,661
     Students
    , grades
    2-12

Reviewed: April 2021

At least one finding shows moderate evidence of effectiveness
At least one statistically significant positive finding
Meets WWC standards with reservations
School climate outcomes—Indeterminate effects found
Outcome
measure
Comparison Period Sample Intervention
mean
Comparison
mean
Significant? Improvement
    index
Evidence
tier

Tripod Trust scale score

International Institute for Restorative Practices SaferSanerSchools™ Whole-School Change Program vs. Business as usual

0 Days

Grades 2-12;
17,661 students

-0.01

0.17

No

--
More Outcomes

Tripod Peer support scale score

International Institute for Restorative Practices SaferSanerSchools™ Whole-School Change Program vs. Business as usual

0 Days

Grades 2-12;
17,661 students

-0.10

0.14

No

--
Show Supplemental Findings

Tripod Bullying scale score

International Institute for Restorative Practices SaferSanerSchools™ Whole-School Change Program vs. Business as usual

0 Days

Grades 6-12;
7,832 students

-0.16

-0.04

No

--

Tripod School Climate scale score

International Institute for Restorative Practices SaferSanerSchools™ Whole-School Change Program vs. Business as usual

0 Days

Grades 6-12;
7,762 students

-0.02

-0.04

No

--
Secondary school attendance outcomes—Indeterminate effects found
Outcome
measure
Comparison Period Sample Intervention
mean
Comparison
mean
Significant? Improvement
    index
Evidence
tier

Absences

International Institute for Restorative Practices SaferSanerSchools™ Whole-School Change Program vs. Business as usual

0 Days

Grades 7-8;
2,625 students

11.39

11.29

No

--
Student engagement in school outcomes—Statistically significant positive effects found
Outcome
measure
Comparison Period Sample Intervention
mean
Comparison
mean
Significant? Improvement
    index
Evidence
tier

Days lost due to out-of-school suspension

International Institute for Restorative Practices SaferSanerSchools™ Whole-School Change Program vs. Business as usual

0 Days

Grades 2-12;
8,940 students

0.40

0.57

Yes

 
 
2
 
More Outcomes
Show Supplemental Findings

Days lost due to out-of-school suspension

International Institute for Restorative Practices SaferSanerSchools™ Whole-School Change Program vs. Business as usual

0 Days

Grades 10-12;
2,245 students

0.47

1.07

Yes

 
 
10

Days lost due to out-of-school suspension

International Institute for Restorative Practices SaferSanerSchools™ Whole-School Change Program vs. Business as usual

0 Days

Grades 2-5;
4,070 students

0.22

0.36

Yes

 
 
6

Suspended during school year for reasons other than violence or weapons

International Institute for Restorative Practices SaferSanerSchools™ Whole-School Change Program vs. Business as usual

0 Days

Grades 2-12;
8,940 students

0.09

0.13

Yes

 
 
3

Days lost due to out-of-school suspension

International Institute for Restorative Practices SaferSanerSchools™ Whole-School Change Program vs. Business as usual

0 Days

Black;
4,467 students

0.62

0.83

Yes

 
 
3

Days lost due to out-of-school suspension

International Institute for Restorative Practices SaferSanerSchools™ Whole-School Change Program vs. Business as usual

0 Days

Economically disadvantaged;
4,941 students

0.56

0.78

Yes

 
 
3

Days lost due to out-of-school suspension

International Institute for Restorative Practices SaferSanerSchools™ Whole-School Change Program vs. Business as usual

0 Days

Students without IEPs;
7,182 students

0.38

0.57

Yes

 
 
3

Number of out-of-school suspensions

International Institute for Restorative Practices SaferSanerSchools™ Whole-School Change Program vs. Business as usual

0 Days

Grades 2-12;
8,940 students

0.20

0.30

Yes

 
 
2

Suspended two or more times during the school year

International Institute for Restorative Practices SaferSanerSchools™ Whole-School Change Program vs. Business as usual

0 Days

Grades 2-12;
8,940 students

0.05

0.07

No

--

Suspended during school year

International Institute for Restorative Practices SaferSanerSchools™ Whole-School Change Program vs. Business as usual

0 Days

Grades 2-12;
8,940 students

0.12

0.17

No

--

Suspended during school year for violence or weapons

International Institute for Restorative Practices SaferSanerSchools™ Whole-School Change Program vs. Business as usual

0 Days

Grades 2-12;
8,940 students

0.05

0.07

No

--

Days lost due to out-of-school suspension

International Institute for Restorative Practices SaferSanerSchools™ Whole-School Change Program vs. Business as usual

0 Days

Male;
4,511 students

0.52

0.63

No

--

Days lost due to out-of-school suspension

International Institute for Restorative Practices SaferSanerSchools™ Whole-School Change Program vs. Business as usual

0 Days

Students not economically disadvantaged;
3,999 students

0.23

0.27

No

--

Days lost due to out-of-school suspension

International Institute for Restorative Practices SaferSanerSchools™ Whole-School Change Program vs. Business as usual

0 Days

White;
3,272 students

0.21

0.19

No

--

Days lost due to out-of-school suspension

International Institute for Restorative Practices SaferSanerSchools™ Whole-School Change Program vs. Business as usual

0 Days

Students with IEPs;
1,758 students

0.52

0.58

No

--

Days lost due to out-of-school suspension

International Institute for Restorative Practices SaferSanerSchools™ Whole-School Change Program vs. Business as usual

0 Days

Grades 7-8;
2,625 students

0.56

0.62

No

--

Characteristics of study sample as reported by study author.


  • 55% Free or reduced price lunch

  • Female: 50%
    Male: 50%
  • Race
    Black
    50%
    Not specified
    13%
    White
    37%

  • Urban
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    Pennsylvania

Setting

The study took place in 44 public schools in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.

Study sample

The study included youth in grades 2-12 and examined outcomes for up to 17,661 students assigned to 537 teachers in 44 schools. In the study sample, 50 percent of students were Black, 37 percent were White, and 13 percent were of unspecified race. The sample was evenly split between male and female students (50 percent each). Twenty percent of youth had an Individualized Education Plan, and 55 percent were certified by the state as economically disadvantaged.

Intervention Group

The intervention is a schoolwide restorative practice termed Pursuing Equitable and Restorative Communities (PERC). Pittsburgh Public Schools teamed with International Institute for Restorative Practices (IIRP) to implement the IIRP’s SaferSanerSchools™ Whole-School Change program. The program aims to build a positive school environment and respond constructively to disruptions with the goals of improving attendance and rule adherence, reducing racial disparities in suspensions, reducing juvenile justice involvement, and improving school safety. The program includes 11 essential elements which focus on improving communication among students and between students and school staff, inculcating a sense of responsibility, and welcoming students back into the community after suspensions. The intervention as assessed in the study spanned two school years.

Comparison Group

The comparison condition was business as usual, which may have included restorative practices according to the study authors.

Support for implementation

Staff in schools that implemented PERC received four days (two of which were mandatory) of professional development provided by IIRP. IIRP also distributed books and other supporting materials on restorative practices, and each principal was assigned a coach who conducted monthly phone check-ins and bi-annual visits. School staff were also asked to attend monthly staff professional learning groups.

 

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