The Effects of Conflict Resolution Training on Students with Previous Discipline Referrals

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Virginia Tech

The purpose of this study was to determine the effects of conflict resolution training on the number and severity of discipline referral offenses committed by high school students in one urban school.

Effectiveness was measured by the number and severity of student discipline referrals to the school administration. Additionally, data were gathered and analyzed regarding student perceptions following application of conflict resolution training. The population (N=155) consisted of black and white students in grades nine through 12 who had previously received conflict-related discipline referrals. The samples (n=32) were selected using simple random sampling. Identified students were randomly assigned to one of two groups (treatment v. control). The treatment group received twelve hours of conflict resolution training. In addition, a four hour follow-up training session was conducted 60 days later. The control group did not receive training. Both quantitative and qualitative methodologies were used to determine the effects of conflict resolution training in this study. The independent variables were conflict resolution training, gender, and eligibility. The dependent variables were number of referrals and level of referrals. Data were collected from student discipline records and by conducting focus groups and individual interviews. The quantitative data were analyzed using the Statistical Package for the Social Sciences (SPSS-X). Two three-way analysis of variance (ANOVA) were used to test all hypotheses. When an alpha level of .05 was used, only the interaction between gender and eligibility was significant with respect to both the number and level of discipline referrals. Further analyses were conducted to "tease apart" the interactions.

In order to ascertain participants' perceptions of the effects of conflict resolution training, the qualitative data were content analyzed to record emerging themes. When the data were content analyzed, 10 themes emerged with respect to the participants' perceptions. These themes revealed that participants' perceptions were mostly positive. Participants reported that the training influenced positive changes in their own behavior and the behavior of others.

Discipline Referrals, Secondary Schools, Conflict Resolution