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Abstract

Managing distracting, disruptive, and dangerous student behaviors is often identified as a central concern for teachers and school systems. In the most recent Schools and Staffing Survey, some 40% of teachers reported that student misbehavior interfered with their teaching, and roughly one in five teachers reported having been threatened by a student (US Department of Education, 2016). In both official policy and daily practice, schools and teachers identify specific student behaviors as problematic. The motivations for proscribing certain student behaviors include ensuring student physical and mental safety, establishing a learning-focused environment, and helping students establish behavioral habits which will facilitate lifelong learning and social productivity. While certain dimensions of student behavior are well-studied, methodological limitations and data constraints have left substantial gaps in our understanding of the causes of problematic student behaviors and the most successful approaches to simultaneously managing behavior and promoting student learning. This dissertation is comprised of three studies intended to illuminate distinct aspects of the interaction between student behavior, school practice, and student learning. The first explores the extent to which student behavior problems in school may be tied to recent exposure to community violence. The second examines the consequences of reduced use of exclusionary discipline in the Chicago Public Schools. Finally, the third describes relationships between observed classroom management and instructional choices, student behavior, and measures of student academic growth.

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