Ban the Discipline Box? How University Applications that Assess Prior School Discipline Experiences Impact College Acceptance of Youth Disciplined in High School
Chris Curran

About the research


NAEd/Spencer Postdoctoral Fellowship

Award Year



University of Florida

Primary Discipline

Educational Policy
Research demonstrates the negative and inequitable consequences of exclusionary school discipline, such as suspensions, on student outcomes. While prior work shows that students who are suspended are less likely to attend college, the mechanisms behind this phenomenon are less understood. A recent report suggests that about 75% of post-secondary institutions collect information on prior disciplinary infractions during the college application process and that most use this for admissions decisions. This has led advocates to push for ââ?¬Å?banning the discipline boxââ?¬Â on college applications. This proposed study will leverage nationally representative data along with primary data collected on the historical use of such discipline boxes to assess its impact on disciplined studentsââ?¬â?¢ likelihood to apply, be accepted at, and receive financial aid at institutions of higher education. Using a student and post-secondary institution fixed-effects approach, the study will address a number of the sources of selection bias that have characterized prior work while providing the first empirical evidence on the effects of the college admissions discipline box. Doing so will both expand the research base on the long-term impacts of high school discipline while also providing actionable information that may inform post-secondary institutionââ?¬â?¢s use of discipline boxes on applications.
About Chris Curran
F. Chris Curran is, starting fall of 2019, an associate professor of Educational Leadership and Policy at the University of Florida?s College of Education. Prior to joining the University of Florida, he was an assistant professor of Public Policy at the University of Maryland, Baltimore County (UMBC) School of Public Policy. He received his Ph.D. in Leadership and Policy Studies with a doctoral minor in quantitative methods from Vanderbilt University?s Peabody College in 2015 and holds a masters in Curriculum and Instruction from the University of Mississippi. Dr. Curran?s research focuses on issues of equity in education with a particular focus on the ways that school discipline and safety contribute to racial disparities in educational outcomes. He also has an active body of research that examines early childhood education, particularly in science. His work has been supported by grants from the National Institute of Justice as well as the American Educational Research Association and has been published in outlets including Educational Evaluation and Policy Analysis, Educational Researcher, AERA Open, the American Educational Research Journal, and Education Finance and Policy. His work has also been featured in a number of media outlets including NPR, Politico, Education Week, and The Atlantic. He blogs actively on topics of school discipline and safety and is a regular contributor to The Conversation. Prior to graduate school, Dr. Curran was a middle school science teacher and department chair.

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