Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)



Document Type



With the implementation of the No Child Left Behind act (NCLB, 2001) sweeping school accountability reforms were instituted across the country. Failure to meet the accountability expectations set forth in the law resulted in punitive measures including school closure, restructuring, and chartering. The impact of the NCLB school reforms on student discipline outcomes at the school level, were assessed. Schools in the state of Louisiana were compared along two dimensions of reform, school type, (Charter vs Traditional) and school governance (Local vs State Run). Analyses indicated differences in student discipline outcomes based on reform variables.

School reforms impacted student outcomes, with moderated effects of contextual variables, indicating charter and state-run effects. Schools impacted by reforms were also compositionally different, with charter and state-run schools having greater percentages of black, and low-income students, as well as lower percentages of proficient students. State wide rates of suspension were higher than the national average (Losen et al., 2016; OCR, 2014) and charter and state-run schools had significantly greater suspension rates when compared to traditional and locally run schools. Though initial risk ratio calculations indicated that charter schools were less likely to disproportionately discipline students of color, when hyper segregation of schools was taken into account, students of color were more likely to be disciplined in state run and charter schools. In contrast, the likelihood of disproportionate discipline for students with disabilities in schools impacted by reforms was similar to schools not affected by reforms. Finally, analysis of school performance scores indicated that currently utilized metrics of school effectiveness were a poor predictor of disproportionate discipline outcomes. Taken together, the results indicate a need to consider discipline outcomes as a component of monitoring the effectiveness of policy interventions.



Committee Chair

Noell, George

Available for download on Monday, November 11, 2024