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Troubled children hurt peers' test scores, behavior
Date:8/25/2008

oekstra estimate that adding just one troubled boy to a class of 20 children reduces the standardized reading and math scores of other boys in the room by nearly two percentile points. And adding just one troubled boy to a class of 20 students increases the likelihood that another boy in the class will commit a disciplinary infraction by 17 percent.

Troubled girls, in contrast, had only a small and statistically insignificant impact on the test scores or behavior of their classmates. The study did not investigate the reasons for the gender differences.

Across all students, having a troubled student in a class reduced classmates' combined test scores by nearly 1 percentile point and increased their likelihood of getting into disciplinary trouble at school by 6 percent.

The researchers conducted sophisticated statistical tests to ensure that they were observing only the impacts of a troubled child on classrooms, not the impact of broader socioeconomic issues in the community. They compared classes from the same grade in the same school over time; some years the classes had troubled students, some years they did not. They also compared how siblings performed when one student was in a class with troubled classmates and another student from the same family was in a class with fewer troubled students.

"Our findings have important implications for both education and social policy," Carrell and Hoekstra write. "First, they suggest that policies that change a child's exposure to classmates from troubled families will have important consequences for his or her education outcomes. In addition, the results also help provide a more complete measure of the social costs of family conflict."

The research does not suggest that all disruptive schoolchildren come from families that experience domestic violence, nor are all children from domestic violence disruptive, Carrell emphasized.

"There are many reasons for disruptive classro
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Contact: Claudia Morain
cmmorain@ucdavis.edu
530-752-9841
University of California - Davis
Source:Eurekalert

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