Understanding a Vicious Cycle: Do Out-of-School Suspensions Impact Student Test Scores?
46 Pages Posted: 31 Mar 2017 Last revised: 30 Apr 2017
Date Written: April 29, 2017
A vast body of research has proven the correlation between exclusionary discipline (out-of-school suspensions and expulsions) and student outcomes such as lower test scores, dropout, grade retention, and involvement in the juvenile justice system, but there is no consensus on the causal impacts of exclusionary discipline. This study uses six years of de-identified demographic, achievement, and disciplinary data from all K-12 public schools in Arkansas to estimate the causal relationship. We conduct dynamic panel data models incorporating student fixed effects using Anderson-Hsiao (1981) estimation. We find, counter-intuitively, a null to positive impact of out-of-school suspensions on test scores. Therefore, while policymakers may have other reasons to limit exclusionary discipline, we should not expect academic gains to follow.
Keywords: school discipline, exclusionary discipline, academic impacts, causal inference
JEL Classification: I20, I24
Suggested Citation: Suggested Citation