Teacher and administrator perceptions of in-school suspension programs on changing student behavior and academic success in schools

John Scott Rimes

Abstract

This study was performed to examine the perception of teachers, in-school suspension (ISS) staff, and administrators on the effectiveness of the in-school suspension program in changing students' behavior and academic success at various schools with different performance levels according the current Mississippi Accountability Model. The 32 schools included in this study were located in the central region of Mississippi. The survey was administered during the spring semester of 2012. Data from the ISS survey determined that there was no relationship between the school performance level and the perceptions of ISS. Overall, the researcher found that there was no evidence supporting the idea that ISS programs are more effective in schools that have attained higher performance level ratings. Respondents in general perceived that ISS to be ineffective in their school setting. The performance level groups disagreed on a specific purpose for the ISS programs, but they agreed that the programs should be more punitive in nature. The researcher found that there was the perception that if students in ISS are to be successful, there should be more academic assistance and counseling inside ISS programs. The performance level groups differed in their opinions of their own schools' ISS staffs' qualifications. They did agree that qualified personnel such as a certified teacher should be in charge of ISS. Finally, there was a significant difference in the performance level group's opinions of how well the staffs communicated with each other about ISS. All the performance level groups agreed that teachers were rarely informed about student improvement in ISS. The results obtained from this study will inform professionals of steps that can be taken to improve any ISS program. The researcher suggests actions that should be taken to define the purpose, along with the policies and procedures that go along with an effective program. The researcher suggests that there should be particular attention given to teacher behaviors toward ISS and a focus on a more collegial relationship between the classroom and ISS teachers. This would, in the researcher's opinion, improve communication among the entire staff. There should also be support from the administration and constant monitoring of the program. With the differences discovered inside the different performance level schools, the researcher recommends that each school design its ISS program around its individual needs.