Patterns in Office Referral Data by Grade, Race/Ethnicity and Gender.

Kaufman JS, Jaser SS, Vaughan EL, Reynolds JS, Di Donato J, Bernard SN, Hernandez-Brereton M
J Posit Behav Interv. 2010 12 (1): 44-54

PMID: 25580076 · PMCID: PMC4286304 · DOI:10.1177/1098300708329710

Research supports that office referral data is useful in informing programmatic decisions and in planning interventions such as Positive Behavior Interventions and Supports (PBIS). Knowledge of the different patterns of office referrals may facilitate the development of interventions that are targeted to specific groups of students. This study examines patterns in office referrals within an urban district by gender, race/ethnicity and grade. Findings reveal that there are clear differences by grade that appear to be related to developmental level, with greater numbers of referrals for aggression in younger students (grades K-8), greater numbers of referrals for disrespectful behavior in middle school students (grades 7-8), and greater numbers of referrals for attendance problems in high school students. There were also gender differences in the rate and type of referrals, with significantly more referrals for boys' delinquent and aggressive behavior than girls, which may relate to how schools define unacceptable behavior and the method used to collect this data. Finally, there were differences by race/ethnicity, in that there were significantly more referrals for African American/black students than Hispanic students, which suggest that schools need to consider students' racial/ethnic background in the development of behavioral expectations.

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