Pupils spend the majority of their time in the classroom, and yet, the assumption that disciplinary infractions in class reduce learning time and are harmful to pupil achievement has not been examined empirically. The aim of this study is to examine how various class and school characteristics contribute to the level of disciplinary infractions in the class, and how these problems impact pupil achievement. The study’s findings indicate that there are differences among classes within the same school with regard to the level of disciplinary infractions. It was also found that disciplinary infractions in class have a significant negative effect on pupil achievement, regardless of the pupil’s behavior or past achievement level. From this it follows that an improvement in a school’s disciplinary enforcement policy coupled with improvement in the teachers’ treatment of pupils can contribute to the reduction of disciplinary infractions in class and lead to an improvement in achievement levels.
This paper appears as a chapter in the Center’s annual publication, State of the Nation Report 2013, Dan Ben-David (editor).