While urban schools that require uniforms tend to have fewer instances of behavior problems, such policies appear to be less effective in high schools than they are in elementary and middle schools, according to a new study.
University of Missouri researcher Seunghee Han analyzed data from a nationally representative sample of students from 421 urban schools and controlled for other initiatives going on in those schools that were also aimed at improving student discipline. The results show that, overall, urban schools with mandatory uniform policies tended to have fewer student-behavior problems than those without them. But the apparent success was limited to the elementary and middle schools in the sample. In high schools, problem behaviors were more frequent in schools with uniform mandates.
The study was published last month in the International Journal of Education Policy & Leadership.
A version of this article appeared in the November 17, 2010 edition of Education Week as School Uniforms