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ERIC Number: ED630386
Record Type: Non-Journal
Publication Date: 2023-May
Pages: 97
Abstractor: ERIC
Fostering Belonging, Transforming Schools: The Impact of Restorative Practices
Darling-Hammond, Sean
Learning Policy Institute
Many schools use exclusionary discipline--such as suspensions and expulsions--to deter students from misbehaving and to protect students from the harms associated with exposure to student misbehavior. Research indicates that, while often implemented with good intentions, exclusionary discipline increases (rather than deters) misbehavior and risks of dropout and juvenile and adult incarceration. Research has also detected racial disparities in how exclusionary discipline is applied. In response, schools have implemented restorative practices, which include proactive practices to inculcate conflict resolution skills and strengthen community bonds (for example, through community-building circles) and responsive practices to resolve conflicts and repair relationships (for example, through mediation and harm-repair circles). Proponents argue that because these practices address root causes of student misbehavior while reducing exclusionary approaches, they have the potential to ameliorate racial disparities while enhancing school climates, academic engagement, and academic performance. A review of extant quantitative research surfaces a critical distinction between restorative programs and restorative practices. Restorative "programs" offer various kinds of training to staff to help them learn to use restorative "practices." Ample evidence indicates that programs often fail to shift school practices in a pervasive way; nonetheless, research has focused almost exclusively on evaluating the impact of the adoption of restorative programs. This study is unique in its focus on the effects of "practices" rather than "programs," the range of student outcomes it examines, and its scale. It examines the effects of restorative practices on academic, disciplinary, behavioral, and health outcomes by combining data regarding the practices in place in 485 middle schools with detailed school attendance and student outcome data for approximately 2 million middle school students. It tracks student exposure to these practices over time and analyzes how exposure to restorative practices affects outcomes at the individual and school levels, controlling for student and school characteristics. [For the Research Brief, see ED630387.]
Learning Policy Institute. 1530 Page Mill Road Suite 200, Palo Alto, CA 94304. Tel: 650-332-9797; e-mail:; Web site:
Publication Type: Reports - Research
Education Level: Junior High Schools; Middle Schools; Secondary Education
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: American Educational Research Association (AERA); National Science Foundation (NSF)
Authoring Institution: Learning Policy Institute
Grant or Contract Numbers: NSFDRL1749275