Adapted from the Hechinger Report
The best school violence prevention program may start with raising test scores, study shows – The Hechinger Report
No doubt, it’s hard for students to learn in a school where classmates are constantly getting into fights and where bullying or disruptive, threatening behavior is common. Teachers who have to spend classroom time breaking up altercations can’t do as much teaching. Academic researchers back that up. A 2013 study in Chicago found that violent crime on school grounds has a negative effect on test scores. The stress and the disruptions get in the way of learning.
One might reasonably assume that principals need to reduce violence and improve school culture before they can succeed in getting kids to learn more.
But a new California study upends this conventional wisdom and finds the opposite. Schools that reduced violence and improved school climate tended not to produce academic gains afterwards. Instead, the researchers found, schools that first raised academic performance usually got large reductions in school violence. School climate indicators, such as whether students feel safe, also improved in schools that first increased test scores.
“Who doesn’t want a child in a school that’s safe and without violence? Do you have to have those two things before you get an increase in academics? The answer in this study is unequivocally no,” said Ron Avi Astor, one of the authors and a professor at the University of Southern California in Los Angeles.
“These were surprising results. It goes against what everyone thinks,” Astor added.
Click here to read more.