Understanding a Vicious Cycle: Do Out-of-School Suspensions Impact Student Test Scores?

46 Pages Posted: 31 Mar 2017 Last revised: 30 Apr 2017

See all articles by Kaitlin Anderson

Kaitlin Anderson

Michigan State University

Gary Ritter

University of Arkansas - Department of Education Reform

Gema Zamarro

University of Arkansas - Department of Education Reform; Center for Economic and Social Research (CESR)

Date Written: April 29, 2017

Abstract

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

Anderson, Kaitlin and Ritter, Gary and Zamarro, Gema, Understanding a Vicious Cycle: Do Out-of-School Suspensions Impact Student Test Scores? (April 29, 2017). EDRE Working Paper No. 2017-09. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2944346 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.2944346

Kaitlin Anderson (Contact Author)

Michigan State University ( email )

201H Erickson Hall
620 Farm Lane
East Lansing, MI 48933
United States

Gary Ritter

University of Arkansas - Department of Education Reform ( email )

201 Graduate Education Building
Fayetteville, AR 72701
United States

Gema Zamarro

University of Arkansas - Department of Education Reform ( email )

201 Graduate Education Building
Fayetteville, AR 72701
United States

Center for Economic and Social Research (CESR) ( email )

635 Downey Way
Los Angeles, CA 90089-3332
United States

HOME PAGE: http://works.bepress.com/gema_zamarro/

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