Tips for Analyzing Your Data

Discipline is an important topic in every school and LEA across the nation. Excessive disciplinary actions, particularly those that remove children from their classrooms, can hinder learning. Such removals can cause children to miss instruction and opportunities to learn content and build skills. These children may have lower academic performance, they may be more likely to drop out of school, and they may be less likely to pursue higher education. Understanding your school’s or LEA’s discipline data can be critical in helping you support these students. By analyzing your discipline data, you can identify patterns and trends to inform your school and LEA discipline-related policies.

The following are some simple tips for analyzing discipline data and practices:

  • Pull all discipline records, including out-of-school suspensions and in-school suspensions (both less than or equal to 10 days and greater than 10 days), placements in alternative settings, and expulsions.
    • To do this, student information system administrators can pull data through system reports or queries.
  • Disaggregate discipline data to capture different student subgroups, such as:
    • schools in which students are disciplined (are there one or two schools that discipline students more than other schools do?);
    • ages of students being disciplined (are more middle school students being disciplined than high school students?);
    • disability of students being disciplined (are students with particular disabilities being disciplined more than other students?); and
    • race/ethnicity of students being disciplined (are students within a particular racial/ethnic group being disciplined more than students in other racial/ethnic groups?).
  • Frame the data meaningfully for students. When analyzing data, think less about the number of days students missed and more about the hours of instruction they lost. For example, a student suspended out of school for 2 school days missed out on 16 hours of instruction. Framing the data around student learning can be extremely powerful.
  • Review LEA policies for discipline. This may reveal that there are no uniform policies in your school or LEA. Thus, discipline decisions are based on the thoughts and judgments of the individuals making the decisions rather than on a school or LEA policy.

For more information, visit https://ideadata.org/resources and search for “discipline.”

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