The relationship between reported incidents of student discipline and student achievement across four Eastern states
The No Child Left Behind (NCLB) Act of 2001 was established to improve student achievement among all public school students. To accomplish this goal, this federal mandate requires each state to establish the seven set priorities under NCLB. In addition, each state is required to establish and report their accomplishments and failures annually. One priority listed under NCLB required that all public schools establish a safe learning environment for students, school staff, and parents (U.S. Government, 2001). Some researchers have identified a high frequency of student discipline incidents, resulting in high suspension and expulsion rates, as a negative constuct that hinders teachers from establishing a nurturing learning environment. As a result, students are unable to develop the skills they need to successfully pass their state-wide assessment test (Howard et. al., 1987; Hernandez & Seem, 2004). Therefore, this study was designed to determined if there is a relationship between incidents of student discipline and student achievement across public school districts in Maryland, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, and Virginia. For the purpose of this study, a hierarchical clustering analysis was used to create five clusters of school divisions (N=1,108) within the four states according to similiarities. To accomplish this task, a data matrix was created, which contains data of the total number of incidents for disorderly conduct, weapon violations, substance abuse, and violence; the number of students receiving free and reduced lunch; and the number of students by race/ethnicity for each school district within the four states. The findings indicate that there is a relationship between incidents of student discipline and student achievement among the four states.