The Relationship Between Collective Efficacy and Suspension Rates in Select Virginia Middle Schools

Malone, Justin, Administration and Supervision - Curry School of Education, University of Virginia
Esposito, James, Curry School of Education, University of Virginia

The purpose of this study was to determine the extent to which collective teacher efficacy explained variance in middle school discipline, as measured by out-of-school suspensions, over and above the school characteristics of school size, race, and socio-economic status. To achieve the study’s purpose, non-experimental survey research methodology was utilized. The sample population was 14 Region V middle schools located in central Virginia. The unit of analysis for the study was the school. The researcher sought and received permission to conduct research with 7 Region V school divisions each of which had middle schools defined as grades 6th through 8th. Collective Teacher Efficacy scores were collected from the 14 middle schools in the spring of 2013. Out-of-school suspension data were retrieved from the Virginia Safe School Information Resource (2013), a publicly available database maintained online by the Virginia Department of Education. Suspension data for the top seven offenses reported for the 2012-2013 school year were used for this study. These offenses were selected due to the frequency with which out-of-school suspensions were rendered as a consequence. The discretion that is allowed when rendering a sanction for these offenses further warranted their inclusion in the study. Demographical data were collected from the Virginia Department of Education’s Fall Membership Reports on enrollment and demographics.
Hierarchical regression analysis was utilized. The regression analysis did not reveal a statistically significant relationship (p < .05) between collective efficacy, and its constructs of group competence and task analysis, and discretionary out-of-school suspensions. Correlation analyses did indicate that race was strongly correlated with discretionary out-of-school suspensions. Implications for practice and future research were discussed. Recommendations for identifying consistent discipline reporting practices amongst schools within a school division were included.

EDD (Doctor of Education)
Collective efficacy, suspension, discipline, middle school
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