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How in-school suspensions are correlated with academic failure, CEHD researcher finds

How in-school suspensions are correlated with academic failure, CEHD researcher finds
February 28, 2022 SEHD Communications

How in-school suspensions are correlated with academic failure, CEHD researcher finds

In-school suspension is an act of discipline where students are temporarily removed from the classroom to be supervised by school personnel. It is a common practice used in schools all over the country, however, it has recently been discovered that this can have a negative impact on a student’s academic performance.

Dr. Jamilia Blake, children’s peer relations expert, and her team, uncover the correlation between in-school suspension and academic failure in their most recent research for the Department of Educational Psychology.  

In this study, Blake focuses on the secondary data of approximately 380,000 ninth grade students enrolled in public schools in Texas, and determines the number of in-school suspensions that resulted in failure on a standardized achievement test. 

Why this study is important

She explains that people often believe in-school suspensions to be a less detrimental punishment to out of school suspensions, however, this is not necessarily the case. 

The effects of in-school suspensions are largely unknown as there has not been a significant amount of research on the topic, therefore, Blake aims to use this research to start the conversation over the effects of in-school suspensions on academic performance.

“In-school suspensions involve taking students out of the classroom, which causes the students to lose valuable instructional time,” Blake says. “Oftentimes people do not realize that this creates large gaps in knowledge, which translates in students’ standardized test performance.”

When students are removed from the classroom, they are not only losing valuable learning time, but they are also losing hands-on help. Blake says it is unclear what type of instructional support students receive to complete assigned work when they are placed in-school suspension rooms. 

Looking at the results from this study, Blakes explains there is a clear association between in-school suspensions and academic failure.

“Results show that a student who is given one in-school suspension is predictive of significant risk for academic failure (greater than 25% chance of failure) on a state-wide standardized test,” Blake says.

She also explained that the relationship between in-school suspension and risk for standardized test failure is more pronounced for students of color. 

Overall, these results ultimately question whether or not the disciplinary actions that are taking place in the classroom are truly effective.

“We need to look more deeply at how we are disciplining students in the classroom, and discover a new instructional, integrative and comprehensive framework that will hold students accountable, but not hurt their way of learning,” Blake says.

How do we further this conversation?

According to Blake, the next step in this process is to implement more training for teachers.

“Implementing training will help give teachers the tools to feel comfortable intervening in the classroom, and to most effectively engage with students,” Blake says.

Taking actions in her own hands, Blake has created her own training for teachers called X-CEL. X-CEL stands for Culturally Enhanced Learning for secondary school teachers and it is a culturally responsive behavior management tool kit for teachers to support them in reducing discipline.  

She is hoping to implement this training program as soon as possible in schools to start changing the way the education system looks at discipline in the classroom. 

To learn more about Dr. Blake’s research, click here.

About the Writer

Emily Knight is a writing assistant for the Marketing and Communications office in the College of Education and Human Development. She is a senior in the Agricultural Communications and Journalism program at Texas A&M.

Articles by Emily

For media inquiries, contact Justin Elizalde.

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