CitationRakowski, Kyle Nolan (2023). Punitive Environments: The Differential Effects of School Discipline on Academic Achievement.
AbstractThis dissertation utilizes data from the National Longitudinal Study of Adolescent to Adult Health (Add Health) to investigate the relationship between school discipline (specifically, suspension and expulsion) and the academic achievement of non-punished students. Previous sociological research has identified negative outcomes for students who face direct punishment in schools. Recent studies have also shown a similar relationship between school discipline and non-punished students. Scholars suggest that this association may be attributed to the broader social environment created by the use of punishment, leading to the establishment of a "punitive environment" within schools. Consequently, punitive environments could extend the detrimental effects of school discipline to all students. However, the dimensions of this relationship and the theory of punitive environments require further exploration.
This study aims to address this research gap by examining various measures that can better identify punitive environments and track the association between punishment and the educational outcomes of non-punished students. To achieve this goal, a combination of multilevel and social network analysis is employed, considering measures at the individual, school, and network levels. The analysis reveals that school-level measures reflecting actual disciplinary practices are more effective in describing punitive environments than measures based on disciplinary policies. Additionally, measures considering the relative exposure to punishment through peer networks offer valuable insights into punitive environments beyond school-level measures. Recommendations for future research includes replication with a more representative sample as well as further examination of network measures as they moderate the relationship between punishment and educational outcomes of all students.