ADHD-Related School Compositional Effects: An Exploration
by Susan Stone, Timothy T. Brown & Stephen P. Hinshaw - 2010
Background/ Context: Children with attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) provide a test case through which to investigate psychosocial school compositional effects. Characterized by developmentally atypical levels of inattention, activity, and impulsivity, the condition often manifests itself, and is identified, in school settings and is associated with deficits in academic and social functioning. Research on school practices related to children with ADHD and regional variation in diagnosis and psychostimulant treatment rates supported the expectation that such compositional effects would be observed.
Purpose/Objective/Research Question/Focus of Study: This study examines variation in ADHD compositional effects as a function of key school factors derived from school effects research and the education production function literature, including student body and teacher characteristics, structural features, and specific school process and practices. It also tested for the presence of ADHD compositional effects on three key student-level outcomes: reading achievement, mathematics achievement, and teacher-reported levels of externalizing behavior. It was hypothesized that there would be negative effects on all three outcomes, such that children in schools with higher proportions of children with ADHD would show lower achievement in reading and math, and higher levels of externalizing symptoms (that is, aggressive and disruptive behaviors).
Population/Participants/Subjects: Approximately 14,000 students in more 1,000 schools participating in the Early Childhood Longitudinal Study–Kindergarten Cohort (ECLS-K) constituted the analytic samples. The ECLS-K collected a rich set of child background, mental health, and behavioral characteristics, as well as school achievement indicators. School administrators reported on school characteristics and practices.
Research Design: Because the ECLS-K follows groups of students nested within schools, it allowed for particularly robust tests for the presence and correlates of within-school aggregations of children with ADHD using student- and school-level fixed-effects models. In addition, several steps were taken to address the potential conflation of the ADHD compositional effect with ECLS-K sampling dynamics and methods.
Findings: Results generated from student-level fixed-effects regression models indicate that ADHD clustering effects predict lower reading achievement scores in schools as compared with schools without this characteristic, but comparable levels of mathematics achievement and externalizing symptoms. These ADHD-related school effects were larger in schools serving minority students, schools with higher retention rates, and schools with a strong emphasis on order. For both children and schools, the patterning of ADHD-related effects differed by region.
Conclusions: Findings are discussed in light of research criticizing the aggregation of children with disruptive behavioral characteristics and/or low academic performance within classrooms and schools, as well as larger school resegregation trends.
To view the full-text for this article you must be signed-in with the appropriate membership. Please review your options below: