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Indicator 12: Teachers' Reports on School Conditions
(Last Updated: June 2014)

In 2011–12, higher percentages of public school teachers than of private school teachers reported that student misbehavior and student tardiness and class cutting interfered with their teaching.

Managing inappropriate behaviors and classroom disruptions is time-consuming and takes away from valuable instructional time and student engagement in academic behaviors (Riley et al. 2011). In the Schools and Staffing Survey (SASS), public and private school teachers were asked whether student misbehavior and student tardiness and class cutting interfered with their teaching. During the 2011–12 school year, 38 percent of teachers agreed or strongly agreed that student misbehavior interfered with their teaching, and 35 percent reported that student tardiness and class cutting interfered with their teaching (figure 12.1 and table 12.1). Teachers were also asked whether school rules were enforced by other teachers at their school, even for students not in their classes, and whether school rules were enforced by the principal. In 2011–12, about 69 percent of teachers agreed or strongly agreed that other teachers at their school enforced the school rules, and 84 percent reported that the principal enforced the school rules (figure 12.1 and table 12.2).


Figure 12.1. Percentage of public and private school teachers who agreed that student misbehavior and student tardiness and class cutting interfered with their teaching, and percentage who agreed that other teachers and the principal enforced school rules, by school control: School year 2011–12

Figure 12.1. Percentage of public and private school teachers who agreed that student misbehavior and student tardiness and class cutting interfered with their teaching, and percentage who agreed that other teachers and the principal enforced school rules, by school control: School year 2011–12

1 Teachers were asked whether "rules for student behavior are consistently enforced by teachers in this school, even for students not in their classes."
2 Teachers were asked whether their "principal enforces school rules for student conduct and backs me up when I need it."
NOTE: Teachers who taught only prekindergarten students are excluded. Includes teachers who "strongly" agreed and teachers who "somewhat" agreed that students' misbehavior, tardiness, and class cutting interfered with their teaching, as well as teachers who "strongly" agreed and teachers who "somewhat" agreed that other teachers and the principal enforced school rules. The public sector includes traditional public and public charter school teachers.
SOURCE: U.S. Department of Education, National Center for Education Statistics, Schools and Staffing Survey (SASS), "Public School Teacher Data File" and "Private School Teacher Data File," 2011–12.


The percentages of teachers who reported that student misbehavior and student tardiness and class cutting interfered with their teaching varied by school characteristics during the 2011–12 school year (table 12.1). For example, a higher percentage of public school teachers (41 percent) than of private school teachers (22 percent) reported that student misbehavior interfered with their teaching. Thirty- eight percent of public school teachers reported that student tardiness and class cutting interfered with their teaching, compared with 19 percent of private school teachers.

In every survey year, a lower percentage of elementary school teachers than of secondary school teachers reported that student tardiness and class cutting interfered with their teaching; in 2011–12, 31 percent of elementary school teachers and 45 percent of secondary school teachers reported that student tardiness and class cutting interfered with their teaching (table 12.1). There was no measurable difference between the percentages of elementary and secondary school teachers who reported that student misbehavior interfered with their teaching.

The percentage of teachers who reported that student misbehavior interfered with their teaching fluctuated between 1993 –94 and 2011–12; however, the percentage was higher in 2011–12 (38 percent) than in the previous survey year (34 percent in 2007–08; figure 12.2). The percentage of teachers reporting that student tardiness and class cutting interfered with their teaching increased between 1993–94 and 2011–12 (from 25 to 35 percent). A higher percentage of teachers reported that student tardiness and class cutting interfered with their teaching in 2011–12 than in 2007–08 (35 vs. 31 percent).


Figure 12.2. Percentage of public and private school teachers who agreed that student misbehavior and student tardiness and class cutting interfered with their teaching, and percentage who agreed that other teachers and the principal enforced school rules: Selected school years, 1993–94 through 2011–12

Figure 12.2. Percentage of public and private school teachers who agreed that student misbehavior and student tardiness and class cutting interfered with their teaching, and percentage who agreed that other teachers and the principal enforced school rules: Selected school years, 1993–94 through 2011–12

1 Teachers were asked whether their "principal enforces school rules for student conduct and backs me up when I need it."
2 Teachers were asked whether "rules for student behavior are consistently enforced by teachers in this school, even for students not in their classes."
NOTE: Teachers who taught only prekindergarten students are excluded. Includes teachers who "strongly" agreed and teachers who "somewhat" agreed that students' misbehavior, tardiness, and class cutting interfered with their teaching, as well as teachers who "strongly" agreed and teachers who "somewhat" agreed that other teachers and the principal enforced school rules. The public sector includes traditional public and public charter school teachers.
SOURCE: U.S. Department of Education, National Center for Education Statistics, Schools and Staffing Survey (SASS), "Public School Teacher Data File" and "Private School Teacher Data File," 1993–94, 1999–2000, 2003–04, 2007–08, and 2011–12; and "Charter School Teacher Data File," 1999–2000.


In every survey year, a lower percentage of public school teachers than of private school teachers agreed that school rules were enforced by other teachers and by the principal in their school (table 12.2). In 2011–12, some 68 percent of public school teachers reported that school rules were enforced by other teachers, compared with 77 percent of private school teachers. In addition, 84 percent of public school teachers reported that school rules were enforced by the principal, compared with 89 percent of private school teachers.

Between 1993–94 and 2011–12, the percentage of teachers who agreed or strongly agreed that school rules were enforced by other teachers fluctuated between 64 and 73 percent, and the percentage who agreed that rules were enforced by the principal fluctuated between 82 and 89 percent, showing no consistent trends. However, a lower percentage of teachers reported that school rules were enforced by other teachers in 2011–12 (69 percent) than in the previous survey year (72 percent in 2007–08). Similarly, the percentage of teachers who reported that school rules were enforced by the principal was lower in 2011–12 than in 2007–08 (84 vs. 89 percent).

In 2011–12, the percentages of public school teachers who reported that student misbehavior and student tardiness and class cutting interfered with their teaching varied by state. For example, among the 50 states and the District of Columbia, the percentage of teachers who reported that student misbehavior interfered with their teaching ranged from 31 percent in Wyoming to 55 percent in Louisiana (table 12.3). The percentages of teachers who reported that school rules were enforced by other teachers and by the principal also varied by state.


This indicator repeats information first reported in the Indicators of School Crime and Safety: 2013 report. For more information: Tables 12.1, 12.2, and 12.3, appendix B for definitions of school levels, and Coopersmith (2009), (https://nces.ed.gov/pubsearch/pubsinfo.asp?pubid=2009324).