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About the Data - Discipline

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Overview

Discipline data for students enrolled in Wisconsin public schools are available on the Wisconsin Department of Public Instruction (DPI) Website. Data include information about out-of-school suspensions and expulsions and incidents resulting in these suspensions/expulsions. Data also include information about what happens to students after they are suspended or expelled.

Where to Find Data about Discipline
School Years  WISEdash   School District 
 Performance Report 
 WINSS Historical 
 Data Files 
Beginning with 2007-08 -- X --
1998-99 through 2006-07 -- -- X

WINSS Data Analysis was DPI's primary public data portal for discipline information until summer 2015 when more recent years of WINSS discipline data by school and by student group and statewide discipline data files were migrated to the School District Performance Report (SDPR).

Discipline data are reported annually for all public schools and districts statewide as part of the SDPR. Wisconsin collects and reports discipline data for all students in prekindergarten through grade 12. Below you will find detailed background information, definitions, and related links to facilitate use and appropriate interpretation of these data on the DPI Website.


Cautions

  1. Counts of students suspended or expelled are for the entire school year, but enrollment counts are as of a date in fall of that year. For this reason, if a student group of interest is mobile or if recorded demographic group identification of individual students changes after the fall count date, then the reported percent of students in that group who were suspended/expelled may be distorted and could potentially exceed 100%.
  2. Beginning with 2010-11 discipline reporting, all incidents and removals from your district involving a single student during a single school year are associated with a single set of student demographic characteristics. A student's disability status as included in this set of demographic characteristics may sometimes differ from the primary disability recorded for that student as of a removal start date. Since some federal compliance reporting calls for student counts to be disaggregated by primary disability as of the removal start date, SDPR/WINSS files and federal reports may not exactly match.
  3. In 2006-07, the School Performance Report aggregate collection of discipline data was replaced by the ISES (Individual Student Enrollment System) Discipline collection. Movement to ISES was a major change for Wisconsin and for school districts. It marked the use of a unique student ID to collect a wide range of data about disciplinary removals and the incidents leading to those removals to meet new requirements in law. Suspensions, expulsions, incidents and post-expulsion data were included in this transition year collection and were not comprehensive so should be interpreted with caution. In more recent years, data sourced from the ISES Discipline collection are believed to be more reliable than data sourced from earlier collections due to more data standardization, automated validations, and error checks.
  4. If 2004-2005 percents and rates for your district are significantly higher or lower than expected, then the likely cause is 2004-2005 enrollment counts or attendance data that don't provide a true picture of your district. Major changes in WI student data collection systems were implemented in 2004-05. 2004-05 student enrollment counts and days of attendance were included in this transition year collection and are not comprehensive. If the reported 2004-05 enrollment counts are higher or lower than the actual counts, then reported incidents rates and suspension/expulsion percents based on these enrollment counts will be lower or higher than actual rates or percents. Also, 2004-05 suspension/expulsion rates based on possible days of attendance may be an issue, depending on the quality of your district's 2004-05 attendance data. For more information, see cautions about the 2004-05 enrollment and attendance data.

Definitions of Key Terms

For definitions, see the WISEdash Glossary (includes terms used in SDPR and in WINSS files)


Calculating Percents and Rates

Wisconsin collects and reports discipline data for all students regardless of grade. Data about disciplinary removals and incidents are disaggregated by student demographic group and reported at the state, district, and school levels. Post-suspension/-expulsion data are reported at the state, district, and school levels and are not disaggregated.

For grade level disaggregation purposes students below 5-year-old kindergarten are counted in a single group called Pre-K or Pre-Kindergarten. Students in this Pre-K group include students with grade level codes K3, K4, and PK in our individual student data collection.

Disciplinary Removals

Students suspended or expelled are reported as a percent of enrolled students. For any given school year, this percent is the count students who were suspended or expelled divided by the total count of enrolled students on the fall (i.e. ISES 3rd Friday of September) count date.

Note that:

  • The primary focus of disciplinary removal reports is on counting removals so counts and percents are for the school year of the removal start date regardless of when the incident resulting in the removal occurred.
  • Students who are suspended or expelled multiple times from the same school during the same school year are counted only once in that school's "number of students suspended" and only once in that school's "number of students expelled."
  • Mobile students could be counted multiple times in suspension reports at the district and state levels if they were suspended from multiple schools in the same year. Multiple expulsions from different schools in the same year are extremely rare.

Incidents

Incidents are reported in two ways: (1) incident rates per 1000 students and (2) incidents resulting in specific disciplinary consequences as a percent of all incidents.

  • Incident rates per 1000 students. Incidents rates are calculated by counting all the incidents, dividing that incident count by the count of enrolled students on the fall count date (i.e. ISES 3rd Friday of September), and multiplying that quotient by 1000.
  • Incidents resulting in specific disciplinary consequences as a percent of all incidents. These percents are calculated by counting incidents resulting in specific disciplinary consequences, e.g. expulsion, and dividing that count by the total count of incidents, i.e. incidents resulting in suspension or expulsion combined.

All incidents resulting in disciplinary removals are reported by incident type (e.g. assault, alcohol, etc). Incident types are sometimes grouped into broader categories (i.e. weapon/drug related, not weapon/drug related) for reporting purposes. If an incident resulting in removal of a student is associated with multiple incident types then summaries are based on the primary incident type, i.e. the primary reason for removal. The most serious infraction or offense committed is the primary reason for removal.

Note that:

  • The primary focus of incident reporting is on counting incidents so counts of incidents are for the school year of the incident date regardless of when the removal resulting from the incident occurred.
  • Any incident resulting in a suspension or expulsion of a student is counted as one incident. Each incident is associated with the demographic group of each student disciplined as a result of that incident.
  • Each incident is counted separately regardless of whether repeat infractions are by the same or different students.
  • Each incident is associated with one and only one school regardless of the mobility status of the disciplined student.
  • Alcohol-related incidents are counted under weapon/drug-related incidents.
  • A single incident may occasionally result in multiple removals, e.g. a suspension followed by an expulsion, for a single student. Through 2009-10, due to limitations of legacy source data, each incident/removal-type combination was counted as a separate incident. Beginning in 2010-11, incidents are associated with the primary removal so each incident counts only once. The primary removal would be expulsion if an expulsion occurred, otherwise suspension.

Post-Suspension/-Expulsion Data

Post-suspension/-expulsion data are reported in four ways: (1) length of expulsion, (2) days removed due to suspension/expulsion, (3) post-expulsion services (students without disabilities only), and (4) returns to school.

  • Length of expulsion. In SDPR, counts include the total number of students expelled divided into four categories. Those four categories are the counts eligible to return to school the same school year, the next school year, and school year 2 or after, and the counts of permanently expelled students. In WINSS historical data files, counts include the total number of students expelled divided into three categories. Those three categories are counts eligible to return within one year (12 months) after expulsion and more than one year after expulsion and counts of permanently expelled students. If a student's expulsion period return year is after his/her "Max Age Year", then the student is counted as permanently expelled. Categories used in SDPR and in WINSS files differ due to differences in data available for the relevant school years. In all cases data are disaggregated by whether or not the expulsion was conditional. Expulsions are conditional if early reinstatement conditions apply.
  • Days removed due to suspension or expulsion. For any given school year, this percent is the count of days removed due to suspension or expulsion divided by the total count of possible attendance days for all students.
  • Post-expulsion services. Counts include the total number of students without disabilities expelled divided into two categories: those who received educational services during the expulsion period and those who did not.
  • Returns to school. Counts of expelled students "eligible to return to school" in the given school year are divided into two categories: those who returned to school and those who did not. Expelled students are counted as eligible to return in the Expulsion Period Return Year. An eligible expelled student is counted as "returned to school" that year if that student is receiving PK-12 educational services after the expulsion expiration date. Any expelled student whose "Expulsion Period Return Year" is after his/her "Max Age Year" is not counted as "eligible to return to school." See also Return to School after Expulsion.

Note that:

  • No length of expulsion data are available for 2006-07 which is the year before SDPR and the first year of the ISES Discipline collection.
  • Counts of days removed are unduplicated regardless of student mobility or report level (state, district, or school).
  • For expulsions that span multiple school years, days removed are counted for the school year that includes the removal start date.
  • Federal law requires that post-expulsion services be provided to students with disabilities. For this reason, public reporting of post-expulsion services focuses on students without disabilities.
  • Any student whose expulsion period start date is within a given school year is counted in "length of expulsion" and "post expulsion services" reports for that school year.
  • Any student whose expulsion period expiration date is within a given school year is counted in "returns to school" reports for that school year.

Data Changes Over Time

Data collections associated with discipline reporting have undergone many changes over time as demand for information about student behavior, school climate, and student safety has evolved and grown. These collection changes resulted in changes in public reporting. The most significant of these changes are listed below.

  • Beginning with 1998-99. Data about disciplinary removals (students suspended/expelled), incidents, and days removed are included in WINSS files at the school level by gender, race/ethnicity, and grade.
  • Beginning with 2000-01. District-level post-expulsion data regarding length of expulsion, post-expulsion services, and returns to school are included in WINSS files. Data for nondistrict charters are reflected in statewide totals, but data for individual nondistrict charters are not included. Neither disaggregated nor school-level data were collected for these subtopics in the SPR aggregate collection.
  • Beginning with 2002-03. Incidents and students suspended/expelled by disability status are included in WINSS files. Calculating incidents and suspensions/expulsions as percents of students enrolled by disability status became possible using PI-2197 Child Count data about enrollment of students with disabilities by school.
  • Beginning with 2004-05. Days removed due to suspension/expulsion as a percent of possible attendance days are disaggregated by disability status and included in WINSS files. Calculating percents became possible using ISES YE records as the source of data about possible days of attendance by disability status. All data associated with fall enrollment are based on ISES Count Date (3rd Friday of September) records.
  • Beginning with 2006-07. ISES Discipline collection is implemented and becomes the source of discipline counts and other data. Over the next several years, ISES YE records would gradually become the source of all data about the district/school and student demographic groups associated with these counts.
  • Beginning with 2007-08.
    • All post-expulsion data are reported in SDPR at the school-level. Summaries by incident type are expanded to include more detailed information about incident types. Both changes were made possible with implementation of the ISES Discipline collection.
    • Days removed are retroactively added to SDPR. The method used to aggregate WINSS data about days removed until 2010-11 is somewhat different from the method retroactively used in SDPR for 2007-08 through 2009-10 so days removed in WINSS and SDPR are close but do not always exactly match for those years.
    • Disaggregated reporting about students suspended/expelled is continued; disaggregated reporting about incidents and days removed is discontinued.
  • Beginning in 2010-11.
    • The method used to aggregate discipline data for public reporting purposes changed to provide more consistent and reliable information across topics. This change had some effect on counts and the districts/schools and student demographic groups associated with these counts. In the case of SDPR days removed, the 2010-11 method was applied retroactively to 2007-08 to provide a more consistent picture of days removed over time.
    • ISES YE records are the source of all data about the district/school and student demographic groups associated with removal, incident, and post-suspension/-expulsion counts. Demographics and accountable district/school associated with fall enrollment continue to be based on ISES Count Date (3rd Friday of September) records.
    • Days removed for a few schools were affected by undocumented retroactive changes so WINSS and SDPR days removed for these schools do not match for 2010-11.

Data Sources

Data used to report discipline come from multiple sources, and these sources have changed over time. Except for fall enrollment, more recent years of data used in discipline reporting come from ISES Discipline records (removal, incident, and post-suspension/-expulsion counts) and ISES YE records (possible attendance days, accountable district/school, and student demographic group). Start dates for use of ISES YE records in reporting discipline data by district/school and by student demographic group vary by discipline subtopic and/or data element due to differences in reporting history across subtopics.

The district and school accountable for each removal, incident, and post-suspension/-expulsion count is drawn from the ISES YE record associated with the removal start date or (for incidents) the incident date. ISES YE records are used because these records contain the most comprehensive DPI data available about student-level school enrollment dates.

Student group assignments for reporting of cumulative school year data (e.g. discipline) about any individual student in your district are now based on a single set of demographic characteristics available in each student's ISES YE end-of-year record as submitted by your district. For more information about "end-of-year records" see "Notes about Data Sources" below. Demographics for point in time data, e.g. fall enrollment, are based on demographics as of that point in time.

Notes about Data Sources

  • ISES YE records include cumulative data for the entire school term and student status/outcome data as of the end of the school term.
  • In each set of YE records for a school term, there is one YE record for each school enrollment period for each student. Most students have only one record. Mobile students have multiple records, one for each enrollment period in each school.
  • For each school term, one YE record for each student/district combo is identified as the student's end-of-year record for that district. For mobile students this represents the school enrollment period during which the student completed the school term. If the student did not complete the school term in that district, then the most recent record for the student in that district is the end-of-year record. Statewide end-of-year records are identified using a similar process. All end-of-year state records are end-of-year district records, but the reverse is not true for inter-district mobile students.

The table below summarizes difference in data sources across DPI public data tools/reports.

Discipline Data Sources by Data Tool/Report
Data Element School District Performance Report (SDPR) WINSS Historical Files
Disciplinary Removals and Incidents
District/School Beginning in 2010-11, ISES YE record associated with removal start date for removals or incident date for incidents (accountable district/school is used); prior to 2010-11, ISES Discipline records. Beginning in 2006-07, same as SDPR; prior to 2006-07, SPR collection.
Counts ISES Discipline records. Beginning in 2006-07, same as SDPR; prior to 2006-07, SPR Collection.
Demographics Students suspended/expelled. Beginning in 2010-11, ISES YE end-of-year records (district or state depending on level of summary); prior to 2010-11, ISES Discipline Collection (disability status), ISES Year End records (grade level placement), or the Wisconsin Student Locator System (gender and race/ethnicity).
Incidents. Not applicable.
Beginning in 2010-11, ISES YE end-of-year records (district or state depending on level of summary); 2006-07 through 2009-10, ISES Discipline Collection (disability status), ISES Year End records (grade level placement), or the Wisconsin Student Locator System (gender and race/ethnicity); prior to 2006-07, SPR collection.
Post-Suspension/-Expulsion (Days Removed)
District/School ISES YE record associated with removal start date (accountable district/school is used). Beginning in 2010-11, same as SDPR; 2006-07 through 2009-10, ISES Discipline records; prior to 2006-07, SPR collection.
Counts ISES Discipline records. Beginning in 2006-07, same as SDPR; prior to 2006-07, SPR Collection.
Demographics Not applicable. Beginning in 2010-11, ISES YE end-of-year records (district or state depending on level of summary); 2006-07 through 2009-10, ISES Discipline Collection (disability status), ISES Year End records (grade level placement), or the Wisconsin Student Locator System (gender and race/ethnicity); prior to 2006-07, SPR collection.
Post-Suspension/-Expulsion (Other Subtopics)
District/School Beginning in 2010-11, ISES YE record associated with removal start date (accountable district/school is used); prior to 2010-11, ISES Discipline records. Beginning in 2006-07, same as SDPR; prior to 2006-07, SPR collection.
Counts ISES Discipline records. Beginning in 2006-07, same as SDPR; prior to 2006-07, SPR Collection.
Demographics Not applicable. Not applicable.
Possible Days of Attendance
District/School ISES YE records (accountable district/school is used). Beginning in 2004-05, same as SDPR; prior to 2004-05, SPR Collection.
Counts ISES YE records. Beginning in 2004-05, same as SDPR; prior to 2004-05, SPR Collection.
Demographics Not applicable. Beginning with 2004-05, ISES YE record containing the relevant attendance counts; prior to 2004-05, SPR Collection.
Enrollment
District/School, Counts, Demographics ISES Count Date (3rd Friday of September) records (accountable district/school is used). Beginning in 2004-05, same as SDPR; prior to 2004-05, PI-1290 and PI-2197.

Frequently Asked Questions about Discipline Data

  1. How are incidents not resulting in disciplinary removals reported?

    Data are collected and reported only for incidents resulting in disciplinary removals. For SDPR and WINSS files, the focus is on incidents resulting in removals from school grounds, i.e., expulsions and (out-of-school) suspensions.


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