The Effects of Punishment on Academic Achievement: A Review of Recent Research
The usual rationale for the use of punishment in educational settings focuses on the need to maintain order and a proper atmosphere for learning. The immediate and practical implications are to stop undesirable behaviors which are interpreted by educators as being disruptive. While there are a variety of methods to eliminate disruptive behavior, punitive methods are still widely used. Practices such as corporal punishment, suspension, and expulsion are historically rooted in American educational tradition. Earlier sections of this book document the use of physical abuse of children based on the Judeo-Christian belief that "sparing the rod" will retard or prevent proper moral development. Corporal punishment is just one extreme type used by educators.
Although punishment has historically been accepted pedagogical procedure there is relatively little research to demonstrate its effectiveness. Other essays in this section of the book examine the merits of punishment and reward as educational strategies to change behavior but do not present in depth analyses of the effects of punishment on academic achievement. The purpose of this paper is to examine the literature which focuses on the relation between the use of punitive educational methods and academic achievement.
Since there are no studies specifically examining the effects of corporal punishment in school on academic achievement, the investigator chose to review studies of punishment in general. By conceptualizing corporal punishment as one facet of the broader category, it is possible to speculate upon the results which might be obtained from the type of research which will probably never be adequately conducted. There is a body of literature which reports the effects of teacher behaviors on students' learning and achievement. Specifically, investigations have revealed that teacher use of ap-