Fischler College of Education: Theses and Dissertations

Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Education (EdD)


Abraham S. Fischler College of Education


Bonnie Ronson

Committee Member

Judy Shoemaker

Committee Member

Nadiya Cummings


The problem studied in this dissertation involved the disciplinary practices of school administrators and how the practices influenced the trend of suspensions based on socioeconomic status. The dissertation involved an exploration of the disciplinary practices of administrators, more specifically suspensions, within 19 middle schools in the northwest region of the United States. The purpose of the study was to provide insight regarding how leadership and disciplinary procedures affected the educational process. The purposefully selected sample involved 19 middle school principals and vice-principals, as well as students at the middle schools who had suspensions. Quantitative data were collected for three research questions. These data were collected with a modified version of the Schools and Staffing Survey, and suspension data came from the district’s computer database. The research design was an ex post facto design. The Statistical Package for the Social Sciences was used to compute descriptive statistics that included frequencies, percentages, means, standard deviations, effect sizes, and point-biserial correlations, as well as statistics from the t test for independent samples. Findings for Research Question 1 showed that administrators reported the principal was responsible for making the decision to suspend a student; teachers and principals impacted a student’s ability to display positive behaviors. Point-biserial correlation findings for Research Question 2 showed there was a large inverse relationship of -.532 between poverty and middle school suspensions. Results for Research Question 3 suggested that 13 of 19 (68.42%) of the schools had a greater number of students on free and reduced lunch suspended than students who did not receive free and reduced lunch. The mean difference between suspension scores for students on free and reduced lunch and students not on free and reduced lunch was 43.11, suggesting statistical significance, p = .001, with a large Cohen’s d effect-size indicator of 1.22. A primary implication was that future policy on research-based disciplinary polices to improve administrators’ attitudes and competence toward executing discipline policies should be implemented in all middle schools.

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