Document Type



Doctor of Philosophy


School Psychology

First Adviser

Shapiro, Edward S.

Other advisers/committee members

Dever, Bridget V.; Manz, Patricia H.; Noltemeyer, Amity L.


Disparities in the use of exclusionary discipline between African American and Caucasian students have persisted in the United States education system despite considerable research on the topic. Although it has not been empirically tested, increasing family-school engagement (i.e., school-based family involvement, home-based family involvement, school’s engagement with the family, family endorsement of the school) has been recommended as a strategy to abate this “discipline gap.” Thus, the purpose of the proposed study is to test whether increased family-school engagement is associated with a greater reduction in the probability of being suspended for African American students compared to Caucasian students using the National Household Education Survey (2003). Results indicated that increased school engagement with families and family endorsement of their child’s school reduced the probability of suspension for all students equally. School- and home-based family involvement could not be tested as each measure demonstrated significant measurement invariance. Implications and limitations of the study are discussed.