Discipline Referrals and Their Relationship to Middle School Student Academic Achievement

This thesis studies how disproportionate discipline rates contribute to an achievement gap between African American and Latino students and their White and Asian peers at the middle school level. Four years’ worth of discipline referral data were collected from six different middle schools in the same district. These referral data were then sorted by ethnicity. Calculations were done to determine each ethnicity’s Composition Index, a metric derived from dividing the ethnicity’s percentage of representation in discipline referrals, by its percentage of representation in the school population. The Composition Index values were then compared against each ethnicity’s achievement data as measured by the California Standardized Test (CST). The study focuses on the correlation between each ethnicity’s Composition Index value and their achievement on the CST above or below the school’s average. The result of the research at all six middle schools shows that not only are African American and Latino students disciplined disproportionately more than their White and Asian peers, but this disproportionality strongly correlates with a gap in academic achievement.