The Relative Contribution of Subjective Office Referrals to Racial Disproportionality in School Discipline

30 Pages Posted: 18 Jun 2016

See all articles by Erik James Girvan

Erik James Girvan

University of Oregon School of Law

Cody Gion

University of Oregon - College of Education

Kent McIntosh

University of Oregon - College of Education

Keith Smolkowski

Oregon Research Institute

Date Written: June 16, 2016

Abstract

Objective: In order to improve our understanding of where to target interventions, the study examined the extent to which school discipline disproportionality between African American and White students was attributable to teachers’ decisions regarding subjectively versus non-subjectively defined behaviors.

Method: The sample consisted of office discipline referral (ODR) records for 1,154,686 students enrolled in 1,824 US schools. Analyses compared the relative contributions of disproportionality in ODRs for subjectively and objectively defined behaviors to overall disproportionality, controlling for relevant school characteristics.

Results: Results showed that disproportionality in subjective ODRs explained the vast majority of variance in total disproportionality.

Conclusions: These findings suggest that providing educators with strategies to neutralize the effects of implicit and other subtle forms of bias, which are known to influence ambiguous and discretionary decisions, may be a promising avenue for achieving equity in school discipline.

Keywords: equity, school discipline, disproportionality, implicit bias, discrimination

JEL Classification: I20

Suggested Citation

Girvan, Erik James and Gion, Cody and McIntosh, Kent and Smolkowski, Keith, The Relative Contribution of Subjective Office Referrals to Racial Disproportionality in School Discipline (June 16, 2016). Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2796646 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.2796646

Erik James Girvan (Contact Author)

University of Oregon School of Law ( email )

1515 Agate Street
Eugene, OR Oregon 97403
United States
541 346-8934 (Phone)

HOME PAGE: http://law.uoregon.edu/faculty/girvan/

Cody Gion

University of Oregon - College of Education ( email )

Corvallis, OR
United States

Kent McIntosh

University of Oregon - College of Education ( email )

Corvallis, OR
United States

Keith Smolkowski

Oregon Research Institute ( email )

1776 Millrace Dr.
Eugene, OR 97403
United States
5414842123 (Phone)
5414841108 (Fax)

HOME PAGE: http://www.ori.org/

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