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Schools With High Suspension Rates See Lower Test Scores, Study Finds

Schools With High Suspension Rates See Lower Test Scores, Study Finds

New research in the American Sociological Review finds that a student attending a school with higher suspension rates has lower test scores, even if the individual isn't being suspended.

The report was compiled by University of Indiana professor Brea Perry and University of Kentucky professor Edward Morris, according to an article on The report "concludes that high rates of suspensions can have a negative impact on the test scores of students who have not been suspended, and that schools may be better served by only suspending students in moderation."

"Evidence shows that high incarceration rates can have a devastating impact on offenders, as well as on surrounding families and communities," the article said. "The researchers set out to see if a similar tactic would yield the same results in schools -– if high rates of suspension could negatively impact other students' academic achievement."

Researchers, the article said, "followed about 16,000 middle school and high school students in a Kentucky district over the course of six semesters. They tracked the students’ scores on a statewide test administered three times a year, and compared it to their schools’ suspension rates during the time of test taking."

The team found that "high rates of school suspensions had a substantial negative impact of individual students' test scores -- especially in schools with typically low levels of violence.

“Low and moderate levels of suspension are benign … there is no benefit or harm,” said Perry.

Perry said "when the suspension levels become 'excessive,' it starts to affect 'the achievement of non-suspended students,'" according to the article.

“[Excessive suspension caused] negative consequences in all schools, but it was especially harmful when the level of violence in school is low," Perry said. "Suspension is most detrimental when it is probably perceived by students as illegitimate, overused or used inappropriate. Kids are looking around saying, ‘This is happening way too often, things in school are great, and you’re using suspension.’”

Read the full story and comment below. 

Article by Kassondra Granata, Education World Contributor

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