INEQUITIES IN DISCIPLINARY CONSEQUENCE ASSIGNMENT TO ELEMENTARY STUDENTS: A TEXAS STATEWIDE INVESTIGATION
Tiger, Kristin N.
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Purpose The purpose of this journal-ready dissertation was to examine the extent to which differences were present in discipline consequence assignment by ethnicity/race (i.e., White, Hispanic, and Black), gender, and economic status (i.e., Not Economically Disadvantaged, Moderately Poor, and Extremely Poor). Specifically, the assignment of discipline consequences to Grade 4 and 5 students in Texas was analyzed to determine whether inequities in their assignment might be present as a function of student ethnicity/race, gender, and economic status. The two discipline consequences that were analyzed in the three investigations in this journal-ready dissertation were the assignment of in-school suspension and out-of-school suspension. The two grade levels on which data were obtained and analyzed were Grade 4 and Grade 5. Method A causal-comparative research design was used in this study. Data on all participants were requested and obtained from the Texas Education Agency Public Education Information Management System database through a Public Information Request. Archival data were obtained for the 2013-2014 and 2014-2015 school years for all Texas Grade 4 and Grade 5 students. Specific data requested from the Texas Education Agency were: grade level, student ethnicity/race (i.e., White, Hispanic, and Black), gender, economic status, and discipline consequence. Findings The assignment of in-school suspension and the assignment of out-of-school suspension was analyzed for Grade 4 and Grade 5 students by ethnicity race (i.e., White, Hispanic, and Black), gender, and economic status (i.e., Not Economically Disadvantaged, Moderately Poor, and Extremely Poor) for two consecutive years. Inferential statistical procedures revealed the presence of statistically significant differences for all analyses. Black students received statistically significantly higher rates of in-school suspension and out-of-school suspension than either Hispanic or White students. Boys received more discipline consequences than girls. Students who were Extremely Poor had statistically significantly higher rates of in-school suspension and out-of-school suspension than their peers who were Moderately Poor and Not Economically Disadvantaged. The results of these studies provide strong evidence that inequities in discipline consequence assignment are present as early as Grades 4 and 5. Clear implications for policy and for practice were provided, as well as suggestions for future research.