Are Achievement Gaps Related to Discipline Gaps? Evidence From National Data


Francis A. Pearman


F. Chris Curran


Benjamin W. Fisher


Joseph H. Gardella

Year of Publication: 

There is growing interest in the relation between the racial achievement gap and the racial discipline gap. However, few studies have examined this relation at the national level. This study combines data from the Stanford Education Data Archive and the Civil Rights Data Collection and employs a district fixed effects analysis to examine whether and the extent to which racial discipline gaps are related to racial achievement gaps in Grades 3 through 8 in districts across the United States. In bivariate models, we find evidence that districts with larger racial discipline gaps have larger racial achievement gaps (and vice versa). Though other district-level differences account for the positive association between the Hispanic-White discipline gap and the Hispanic-White achievement gap, we find robust evidence that the positive association between the Black-White discipline gap and the Black-White achievement gap persists after controlling for a multitude of confounding factors. We also find evidence that the mechanisms connecting achievement to disciplinary outcomes are more salient for Black than White students.

Primary Research Area:

Topic Areas:

APA Citation

Pearman, F. A., Curran, F. C., Fisher, B. W., & Gardella, J. H. (2019). Are Achievement Gaps Related to Discipline Gaps? Evidence From National Data. AERA Open.

Media Mentions