Are Achievement Gaps Related to Discipline Gaps? Evidence from National Data

Research Rundown Issue: November '19
Publisher: American Educational Research Association
Date Published: October '19


A groundbreaking Stanford-led study found that, specifically for black students, there is a correlation between discipline disparities and achievement gaps, even after controlling for other variables. When one gap narrows, so does the other. While the researchers note that there are likely many reasons for the connection between these two variables, from teacher biases to peer effects and other measures of school climate, they suggest to practitioners that addressing discipline disparities is likely to impact academic outcomes as well.

Why This Matters in Minnesota

Minnesota’s history of disproportionately suspending and expelling black students at higher rates than white students is well-documented, as are the egregious black-white achievement gaps. Local advocates have been calling for action on the issue of school discipline for years; working to ensure all students, and particularly students of color and students with special needs, are not needlessly pushed out of the classroom. This research indicates that reforming discipline should remain a priority both for policymakers and practitioners.

Read the study