The Relative Contribution of Subjective Office Referrals to Racial Disproportionality in School Discipline
30 Pages Posted: 18 Jun 2016
Date Written: June 16, 2016
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: Suggested Citation