Posted: September 6th, 2023
Examining Restorative Practices through Standardized Test Results
Creative testing scenario
Use a creative testing scenario involving the implementation of restorative practice and teachers/admin/parents attitudes towards it to help develop the following pieces of information.
1. Explain the context in which this testing situation is taking place and the content that will be examined and specifically the population from which it was collected.
2. Discuss the various pieces that a researcher can explain that are included as a part of the central tendencies of analyzing data, giving concrete examples of each.
3. Display and explain the use of a normal bell curve in relation to its application in understanding standardized test results.
Explain how various findings may be helpful in developing options to support test growth during selected time intervals throughout the school year.
Ravid, R. (2020). Practical statistics for educators (6th ed.). Rowman & Littlefield Publishers. ISBN: 9781475846836. Read chapters 4, 5 & 6.
Creative Testing Scenario: Examining Restorative Practices through Standardized Test Results
As schools continue searching for effective approaches to discipline and classroom management, restorative practices have gained attention as a promising alternative to punitive and exclusionary methods. However, some teachers and administrators remain skeptical of fully adopting restorative approaches, concerned it may undermine academic standards or priorities. To explore these attitudes and examine the potential impact of restorative practices more closely, our research team developed a creative testing scenario using hypothetical standardized test results from a mid-sized suburban school district.
Context and Data Collection
For this scenario, we analyzed standardized test performance from a sample of 500 eighth grade students at three middle schools over the past three years—before and after one school began implementing restorative practices more extensively. The schools served similar socioeconomic populations to control for demographic factors. Test scores from the first two years established a baseline for comparison before changes were made. Scores from the third year after changes allowed examination of any differences that emerged.
Central Tendencies in Analyzing Test Data
When analyzing standardized test results, researchers commonly examine measures of central tendency—including the mean, median, and mode—to understand performance across an entire group (Ravid, 2020). In this scenario, we found the mean test scores increased slightly at the school using restorative practices more, while remaining stable at the other two schools. The median scores showed a similar small upward trend. However, looking just at central tendencies does not tell the whole story, so we examined other aspects of the data distribution.
The Normal Curve and Standardized Testing
To better understand score distributions, researchers often plot results on a normal bell curve (Ravid, 2020). In our scenario, plotting test scores from each year on a normal curve revealed an interesting shift at the school emphasizing restorative practices (see Figure 1). While the overall distribution remained bell-shaped, the curve shifted slightly to the right, with more students scoring above grade level norms after implementing changes. This indicates restorative practices may be helping improve performance across the academic spectrum rather than just for some groups.
Normal Curve Display of Standardized Test Scores Before and After Implementing Restorative Practices
Supporting Test Growth with Restorative Options
The findings from this creative testing scenario suggest restorative practices could support student growth on standardized tests when used as part of a well-rounded approach. By addressing conflicts or challenges in a respectful, relationship-focused manner rather than exclusionary discipline, restorative methods may help create an optimal learning environment (Gregory et al., 2016). Educators could consider incorporating restorative conferencing, circles, or other practices periodically throughout the year—not just for behavioral issues but also to check academic progress, set goals, and provide encouragement and support to maximize learning for all. More research is still needed, but initial evidence points to the potential academic benefits of these approaches.
In summary, this hypothetical scenario using standardized test data provides insight into how restorative practices may positively impact student performance. By shifting disciplinary culture from a punitive to restorative model, schools may see overall test scores trend upward over time. Educators should feel empowered to consider creative ways of examining different policies and practices to determine the most effective, well-rounded strategies for their unique learning communities.
Gregory, A., Clawson, K., Davis, A., & Gerewitz, J. (2016). The promise of restorative practices to transform teacher-student relationships and achieve equity in school discipline. Journal of Educational and Psychological Consultation, 26(4), 325–353. https://doi.org/10.1080/10474412.2014.929950
Ravid, R. (2020). Practical statistics for educators (6th ed.). Rowman & Littlefield Publishers. ISBN: 9781475846836.