Recommendations: The Education Data Explorer discipline tool is very useful to stakeholders working toward school discipline reform. Its value lies in the fact that it makes these data transparent and easily accessible not only to educators, but to a wide range of stakeholder groups. Meaningful reform requires school systems, government and nonprofit agencies, and communities to work together collectively. In order to do this, stakeholder groups must have ready access to recent data, so that progress can be monitored, and the efficacy of improvement efforts can be measured. This tool could be made even more useful with the following revisions/additions:
• Allow for disaggregation of school discipline data to the school level. Currently, the Data Download feature allows users to view academic assessment data for individual schools, but not discipline data. Adding this capability would enhance transparency and allow for more meaningful improvement efforts. It must be acknowledged that established suppression protocols should remain in order to protect individual students in instances where they would be easily identifiable.
• Ensure that each and every disciplinary incident is counted and reflected in the data. Currently, this tool reports using a “one student: one incident” protocol. For example, a student who received eight suspensions in a school year would only be counted as one suspension in the tool. Further, the tool “rolls up” to the highest level of severity for an incident. For example, a student who received multiple suspensions, followed by a subsequent expulsion would only be counted as one expulsion in the tool. Every incident of exclusion from the classroom results in lost instructional time. This, in turn, has a significant influence on academic progress and school engagement. Counting each and every incident of exclusionary discipline is therefore critical to ensuring the accuracy and usefulness of these data in driving school improvement. 10 Oregon
Department of Education, Education Data Explorer. Retrieved from:
http://www.ode.state.or.us/apps/Navigation/Navigation.Web/default.aspx#/Discipline 11 Efforts are currently underway to augment this data display by showing discipline in relation to demographic representation, and including comparison data from the previous year. 7
• Create enhanced ability for “intersectional” readings of various data. For example, users can currently select the Race & Ethnicity Comparison tab to view disciplinary incidents disaggregated by race ethnicity. The ability to view other characteristics (e.g., disability status, economic disadvantage, gender, English proficiency) in conjunction with race/ethnicity would make the tool even more useful. Oregon Report Cards
• Track longitudinal data for discipline in the same manner that student academic performance is tracked. This will provide stakeholders with a quick “at-a-glance” perspective on whether a district is making progress in this area.
• Consider using the number of days of lost instruction as a metric (as opposed or in addition to raw number of suspensions/expulsions). Disaggregate this by race/ethnicity, disability status, economic disadvantage, gender, and English proficiency.12