The Role of Students' Perceptions of Teacher Fairness and Discipline on Academic Achievement: An Analysis of the 1994 National Longitudinal Study of Adolescent Health
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Research on discipline patterns among adolescents show that Black and Hispanic students are more likely to be suspended, compared to White students, particularly, male students compared to females (Verdugo and Glenn 2006; Skiba 2002). The aims of this research are to understand perceptions of teacher fairness by race and gender, prevalence of disciplinary measures, and the effects on adolescents’ level of academic achievement among adolescents. A quantitative secondary data analysis of the 1994-2008 National Longitudinal Study of Adolescent Health, a randomly selected study of 6,504 7th, 8th, 9th, 10th, 11th, and 12th graders, was analyzed to examine questions pertaining to race, gender, grade, perceived fairness, behavioral problems (i.e. suspension, expulsion, getting into trouble) and academic achievement (not ever repeating a grade). The results show race, ethnic and sex differences in students being disciplined. Male students compared to female students were more likely to report higher perceptions of fairness, getting in trouble, discipline and grade repetition. Black students compared to white students are more likely to get in trouble, get disciplined, repeat a grade and report low perceptions of fairness. Hispanic students got in trouble less than White students but they were more likely to be disciplined than White students. In analyzing perceptions of teacher fairness relationship to academic achievement, results indicated no relationship between academic achievement and perceptions of fairness. However, students’ race/ethnicity and sex were the strongest predictors in academic achievement. Disproportionality in students’ discipline is a problem that can lead to negative outcomes in academic achievement. Further research is needed to explore which variables account for this persistent problem.