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The Role of Social Emotional Competencies in Student Discipline and Discipline Disparities

NCJ Number
Journal of School Violence Volume: 23 Issue: 2 (SI) Dated: April 2024 Pages: 250-263
Date Published
April 2024
14 pages

This document reports on a study that examined survey and administrative data from third- to twelfth-grade students in order to better understand the extent to which social emotional competencies influence disciplinary outcomes, and whether the relationship is impacted by race or grade-level.


While research suggests that social emotional competencies (SECs) influence students’ disciplinary outcomes, less is known of their potential to explain racial disparities or grade level differences in those outcomes. This study used survey and administrative data from 30,494 students in grades 3–12 to examine the degree to which SECs were related to discipline outcomes, and whether the relationship differed by race or grade tier. Results indicated that students with higher SEC had fewer behavior incidents, in-school suspensions, and out-of-school suspensions. Further analyses revealed that race and grade tier were predictive of all discipline outcomes. Regardless of SEC level, Black and mixed-race students had higher behavior incidents. When race and grade tier were included as factors, the relationship between SEC and discipline was diminished. Results suggest that SECs cannot explain racial disparities in discipline, but students who report low SEC in middle and high school could potentially benefit from intervention. (Published Abstract Provided)

Date Published: April 1, 2024