Giving Compass' Take:

• A new study shows that an increase in the discipline gap or the academic achievement gap between black and white students in the US predicts a jump in the other. Similarly, as one gap narrows, so does the other.

• How can funders work to ensure that all students get on even footing in school?

• Learn about supports that can help close achievement gaps. 

Students of color are suspended at disproportionately higher rates than white students and, on average, perform more poorly on standardized tests. But no peer-reviewed nationwide research has documented a link between the two disparities—until now.

“Prior research has suggested that achievement gaps and discipline gaps may be two sides of the same coin,” says Francis Pearman, an assistant professor at Stanford University Graduate School of Education and lead author of the study in AERA Open. “This is the first study to document this relationship at the national level.”

Past studies have provided evidence of racial disparities in both school discipline and academic achievement, and for decades, researchers have tried to shed light on the causes and outcomes of each of these gaps, Pearman says. “But it wasn’t until recently that people started talking about these gaps as potentially being related to one another.

“The most influential work in this space has largely been conceptual—drawing on existing literature to make a theoretical argument for a link between the racial discipline gap and the academic achievement gap. Or it’s been local, looking at whether a relationship between the two gaps exists within a given school district.”

Read the full article on the racial achievement and school discipline gap by Carrie Spector at Futurity.