A Case Study of Middle School Discipline Referrals by Gender, Grade Level, and Consequence
Stephenson, Kristine 1969-
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The purpose of this study is to determine if office discipline referrals differ significantly by gender and grade level for middle school students, and to determine if a relationship exists between gender, discipline reason, and discipline consequence. The literature review consistently shows that boys are referred to the office and receive consequences at a much higher rate than girls, especially minority boys and those from economically disadvantaged backgrounds (Freiberg, Stein, & Parker, 1995; Jordan & Anil, 2009). Boys are also expelled and subject to zero tolerance policies at a much higher rate than girls (Planty et al., 2009; Freiberg & Reyes, 2008). The sample population for this study was drawn from Jefferson (pseudonym) Middle School which has over 1,200 students in grades 6-8. Archival PEIMS data provided by the school district for the 2009-2010 was analyzed to determine the outcomes of office discipline entries from Jefferson Middle School. Descriptive statistics were utilized to analyze the number of referrals broken down by gender and grade level and found that males receive more referrals than females in 6th, 7th, and 8th grade. Descriptive statistics also determined that the highest 5 reasons for discipline referrals overall were being tardy to class, disrupting class, language in the form of refusal, refusing to work, and failure to attend discipline assignment. The highest 4 consequences issued to students were Discipline Management Class, Detention Hall, Out of School Suspension, and Saturday Detention. A Chi-square test for independence indicated a significant association between gender and reason for referral as well as between gender and discipline consequence in all grade levels. A post hoc Cramer’s V indicated a small effect size between each of the variables. Implications of this study suggest that further analysis is necessary to address the association between gender, discipline referrals, and discipline consequences and to examine methods of creating positive school climates in order to impact student behavior and reduce the amount of students referred to the office.