School Psychology Review
Beyond Behavior: Multilevel Analysis of the Influence of Sociodemographics and School Characteristics on Students' Risk of Suspension
Amanda L. Sullivan, David A. Klingbeil, & Ethan R. Van Norman
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Abstract. Minority disproportionality in school discipline outcomes continues to trouble practitioners and scholars. The purpose of this study was to examine the influence of sociodemographic characteristics and indicators of school policy enactment (e.g., retention rates, special education identification) on students’ risk of suspension. The sample consisted of archival student and school-level data for approximately 18,000 kindergarten through 12th-grade students in 39 schools of a Midwestern school district. We used multilevel logistic regression and multinomial logistic regression to estimate students’ risk of receiving one or more suspensions. Results indicated that gender, race, disability, and socioeconomic status were significantly related to suspension risk, but that school variables reflecting school-level demographics, performance, and teacher characteristics were not. Implications for future research, service delivery, and policy development are discussed.