Troubled Children Hurt Peers’ Test Scores, Behavior

Troubled children hurt their classmates’ math and reading scores and worsen their behavior, according to new research by economists.

The researchers linked domestic violence cases to 4.6 percent of the elementary school students in their sample.

These children scored nearly 4 percentile points lower on standardized reading and math scores than their peers whose parents were not involved in domestic violence cases.

In addition, the children from households linked to domestic violence were 44 percent more likely to have been suspended from school and 28 percent more likely to have been disciplined for bad behavior. The impact was seen across genders, races and income levels.

Not only did children from troubled homes suffer, however: Test scores fell and behavior problems increased for their classmates as well.

Troubled boys caused the bulk of the disruption, and the largest effects were on other boys. Indeed, 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.

There are many reasons for disruptive classroom behavior; domestic violence is one particularly good indicator of a troubled child.

Read more at ScienceDaily

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