Study Says Uniforms Increase Student Attendance, Graduation Rates

School uniforms may improve attendance and discipline.

YOUNGSTOWN, Ohio – Requiring students in urban public high schools to wear uniforms results in increased attendance, higher graduation rates and fewer student suspensions, but it does not improve academic performance in reading and math. Those are among the results of a new study conducted by a researcher at Youngstown State University (YSU).

“Uniforms alone do not improve student reading and math proficiency test scores, but they do help in addressing problems with discipline and attendance in a school building,” said Virginia Draa, the YSU assistant professor of human ecology who conducted the study as part of her dissertation for a doctoral degree in educational leadership.

“People should not expect miraculous improvements overnight in the school climate or even in one year” as the result of uniforms, she said. “As with many educational policies, it takes some time for students and school personnel to adapt to a change and for the improvements to be noticeable.”

RELATED: Clown Hysteria Disrupts Schools, Occupies PoliceDraa is a former Youngstown public school teacher and administrator, and she said she was surprised by the study’s results.

“I was teaching when uniforms were introduced in Youngstown and, quite honestly, I was skeptical they would have any impact,” she said. “I wasn’t sold on the idea. But now, I think I’m a convert.”

Draa surveyed school administrators and examined proficiency test scores and rates of attendance, graduation, suspension and expulsion between 1994 and 2002 at 64 high schools in Ohio’s eight largest school districts, six of which have uniform policies.

The size of the study, however, limited its conclusions. It also did not take into account parental involvement.

She concludes that school uniforms are effective in improving school attendance, increasing graduation rates and decreasing suspension rates. The study also showed that requiring students to wear uniforms did not make any significant difference in student reading and math performance or in school expulsion rates.

“My advice to superintendents and principals, especially those in high risk school districts, would be that uniforms may help reduce problem behaviors and may create a more orderly environment for learning,” she said. “They are not a cure-all, but they certainly may help.

“And to parents, who usually oppose mandatory uniform policies, I would say, ‘Don’t fight it.’ It actually might be a good thing.'”

Article reprinted with permission.Read Next: Meet 11 Amazing People Who Are Keeping Your Kids’ Schools Safe

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