Wisconsin study: Disruptive students disrupt the education process

10 Apr

Moi wrote in Alternative discipline: Helping disruptive children stay in school:

Moi wrote in Inappropriate discipline: The first step on the road to education failure:

Joan Gausted of the University of Oregon has an excellent article in Eric Digest 78, School Discipline

School discipline has two main goals: (1) ensure the safety of staff and students, and (2) create an environment conducive to learning. Serious student misconduct involving violent or criminal behavior defeats these goals and often makes headlines in the process. However, the commonest discipline problems involve noncriminal student behavior (Moles 1989).

The issue for schools is how to maintain order, yet deal with noncriminal student behavior and keep children in school. https://drwilda.com/2012/11/12/alternative-discipline-helping-disruptive-children-stay-in-school/

Julia Lawrence writes in the Education News article, Study Quantifies Cost of Disruptive Students, Recs Online Schools:

A study from the Wisconsin Policy Research Institute has finally quantified the impact that disruptive students have on their classmates’ academic achievement. By looking at differences in grades on standardized test scores between districts that high suspension rates and low ones, the study was able to conclude that lowering the suspension rates by just 5% would translate to a 3.5% gain in the number of students proficient in reading and a full 5% in rates of proficiency on mathematics.

WPRI Research Director Mike Ford called the gains statistically significant and said that the study is only one of a number that shows what schools can achieve by removing disruptive elements from the classroom. http://www.educationnews.org/online-schools/study-quantifies-cost-of-disruptive-students-recs-online-schools/

Here is the press release:

Wisconsin Policy Research Institute: Classroom disruption significantly hurting student achievement

P.O. Box 382 Hartland, WI
(262) 367-9940
E-mail: wpri@wpri.org • Internet: http://www.wpri.org

CONTACT: WPRI Research Director Mike Ford, 414-803-2162

WPRI study: Classroom disruption significantly hurting student achievement Study recommends increased use of virtual schools and character education

A new study by the Wisconsin Policy Research Institute has, for the first time, quantified the extent to which disruptive students are hindering reading and math achievement in many Wisconsin classrooms.

Over 48,000 students were suspended from Wisconsin public schools in 2011 alone, and many of them were suspended more than once. Four districts in the state – Bayfield, Beloit, Racine and Milwaukee – had suspension rates above 12 percent in 2011.

Half of the 424 districts in Wisconsin, meanwhile, had suspension rates over 1.7 percent. In those districts, decreasing the suspension rates – and the disruptive behavior that drives them – by just five percent would increase the number of students proficient in reading by 3.5 percentage points and the number of students proficient in math by almost five percentage points, according to the study conducted by WPRI Research Director Mike Ford.

“These gains are both statistically and substantively significant,” said Ford. “There is strong evidence that removing disruptive students from the classroom is a viable strategy for raising academic achievement.”

Disruptive students, like other children, have a right to a public education. But, Ford points out, a building that is plagued with disorderly students forces teachers to devote time to activities unrelated to learning and distracts classmates.

“Policymakers often focus on reforms with big pricetags, like small class sizes. We overlook another, less expensive route to higher achievement: creating more hospitable teaching and learning environments by better addressing disruptive behavior and/or removing students causing it,” said Ford.

The study, The Impact of Disruptive Students in Wisconsin School Districts, recommends that chronically disruptive students be removed from classrooms and enrolled in a statewide virtual school created specifically for them. The virtual school could be hosted by a district or districts willing to enroll pupils via the state’s open-enrollment program. Students enrolled in such a school could be provided with both a computer and an Internet connection. They would continue to have the opportunity to learn, but would no longer be a detriment to the education of their classmates.

The study also recommends that Wisconsin schools increase the use of character education, which encourages the development of traits and values such as respect, responsibility, honesty, fairness and caring.

A copy of the study is available at http://www.wpri.org . The Wisconsin Policy Research Institute, established in 1987, is a nonpartisan, not-for-profit think tank working to engage Wisconsinites in discussions and timely action on key public policy issues critical to the state’s future.

Here is a portion of the executive summary:

WPRI Report
Volume 26, No. 5 April, 2013

Executive Summary

In 2010-2011, more than 48,000 Wisconsin students were suspended.  The disruptive behavior leading to these suspensions is detrimental to teachers, school cultures, and ultimately, student learning.  Reducing suspension rates in Wisconsin school districts with high numbers of disruptive pupils can substantially increase achievement levels in those districts.  An analysis of suspension rates in Wisconsin shows that decreasing those rates by five percentage points would yield an almost five percentage point increase in math proficiency, and a three and one-half percentage point increase in reading proficiency on the Wisconsin Knowledge and Concepts Exam.

In other words, reducing disruptive behavior can yield substantial achievement gains for Wisconsin pupils. 

This report reviews existing research on the link between student disruption and academic achievement, reviews current Wisconsin statues and practices regarding student behavior, includes comments from a discussion with teachers from the state’s largest school district, and uses data from both the Department of Public Instruction and from the National Center for Education Statistics to test several hypotheses. The finding that student behavior affects student achievement at the school district level is both intuitive and well-supported by evidence.

The findings are particularly interesting because the other factors that significantly affect achievement in Wisconsin districts, such as the socioeconomic makeup of the student population, cannot be readily addressed in the ways that student behavior can.

Ultimately, this report concludes that Wisconsin must honor its commitment to make a public education available to all of its students, but must not do so at the expense of the vast majority of pupils who do not engage in disruptive behaviors.  Similarly, teachers must be supported and allowed to teach in an environment where their focus can be on student learning, not discipline. 

The formal recommendations of this report include supporting and strengthening ongoing efforts to instruct teachers on how to deal with problem students, and state efforts to bring evidence-supported strategies for disruptive students to Wisconsin schools.  In addition, strategies should be pursued to ensure that chronically disruptive pupils are permanently removed from regular classrooms, perhaps with an increased use of virtual schools. Perhaps most important, Wisconsin must pay greater attention to this issue because doing so can improve student outcomes as well as the overall work and learning environment of teachers and students. 

Disruptive students in Wisconsin classrooms make it difficult for other students to learn and difficult for teachers to teach.  Addressing this problem can have a very real and positive effect on student performance…. http://www.wpri.org/Reports/Volume26/Vol26No5/Vol26No5.html?utm_source=feedburner&utm_medium=feed&utm_campaign=Feed%3A+TheWisconsinPolicyResearchInstitute+%28The+Wisconsin+Policy+Research+Institute%29

Moi wrote in The ‘whole child’ approach to education: Many children do not have a positive education experience in the education system for a variety of reasons. Many educators are advocating for the “whole child” approach to increase the number of children who have a positive experience in the education process. https://drwilda.com/2012/02/10/the-whole-child-approach-to-education/

In order to ensure that ALL children have a basic education, we must take a comprehensive approach to learning.

A healthy child in a healthy family who attends a healthy school in a healthy neighborhood ©


Education Law Center

Discipline In Schools: What Works and What Doesn’t?

Justice for Children and Youth has a pamphlet                                       I’m being expelled from school – what are my rights?


Report: Black students more likely to be suspended               https://drwilda.com/2012/08/07/report-black-students-more-likely-to-be-suspended/

Johns Hopkins study finds ‘Positive Behavior Intervention’ improves student behavior                                                                          https://drwilda.com/2012/10/22/johns-hopkins-study-finds-positive-behavior-intervention-improves-student-behavior/

Pre-kindergarten programs help at-risk students prepare for school  https://drwilda.com/2012/07/16/pre-kindergarten-programs-help-at-risk-students-prepare-for-school/

A strategy to reduce school suspensions: ‘School Wide Positive Behavior Support’                                                                         https://drwilda.com/2012/07/01/a-strategy-to-reduce-school-suspensions-school-wide-positive-behavior-support/

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