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Publication Date


Publication Title

Educational Evaluation and Policy Analysis


In Rhode Island, out-of-school suspensions were excessively and disproportionately used to penalize low-level infractions. To address this problem, the Rhode Island General Assembly passed legislation, effective May 2012, prohibiting out-of-school suspensions for attendance-specific infractions. Four years later, the Assembly passed additional legislation to curb out-of-school suspensions for disruption-specific infractions. This study examines the impact of these suspension reforms on out-of-school suspension outcomes for treatment infractions and corresponding racial-ethnic disparities. To execute the analyses, the study uses student-level administrative data (AY 2009–2010 to AY 2017–2018) from the Rhode Island Department of Education, along with quasi-experimental estimation. The study finds that only the first reform lowers out-of-school suspension outcomes for attendance-specific infractions and corresponding racial-ethnic disparities.


attendance infractions, disruptive infractions, exclusionary discipline, minor infractions, out-of-school suspensions, quadruple-difference estimation, quasi-experimental models, racial-ethnic disparities, Rhode Island, suspension reforms, triple-difference estimation





Creative Commons License

Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License.


Licensed to Smith College and distributed CC-BY under the Smith College Faculty Open Access Policy.


Peer reviewed accepted manuscript.

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Economics Commons



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