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

Published Online in:
October 16, 2019

Francis A. Pearman II, Stanford University
F. Chris Curran, University of Florida 
Benjamin Fisher, University of Louisville
Joseph Gardella, Drexel University

There is growing interest in the relation between the racial achievement gap and the racial discipline gap. However, few studies have examined this relation at the national level. This study combines data from the Stanford Education Data Archive and the Civil Rights Data Collection and employs a district fixed effects analysis to examine whether and the extent to which racial discipline gaps are related to racial achievement gaps in grades 3 through 8 in districts across the United States. In bivariate models, we find evidence that districts with larger racial discipline gaps have larger racial achievement gaps (and vice versa). Though other district-level differences account for the positive association between the Hispanic-White discipline gap and the Hispanic- White achievement gap, we find robust evidence that the positive association between the Black-White discipline gap and the Black-White achievement gap persists after controlling for a multitude of confounding factors.

Read the full open-access article online here

Read the press release, "Study Finds Relationship between Racial Discipline Disparities 
and Academic Achievement Gaps in U.S. Schools."