Using Arkansas’ Administrative Data to Inform Suspension & Expulsion Prevention Policy Implementation

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Coffey, M., Zamora, M. C., Peyton, S., Pilkington, B., Kyzer, A., Grindal, T., & Smith, S. (2020) Using Arkansas’ administrative data to inform suspension and expulsion prevention policy implementation. SRI International.


Young children are suspended and expelled from early childhood education programs at high rates. Evidence indicates that this form of exclusion can have negative implications for children’s development and later school success (Adamu & Hogan, 2015; U.S. Department of Education, Office for Civil Rights, 2016). In response, the 2014 reauthorization of the Child Care and Development Block Grant requires states to develop policies to prevent the use of exclusionary practices in early childhood programs. As state administrators seek to implement policies that reduce suspension and expulsion, many are interested in learning how to better prepare the workforce to address the behavioral challenges that lead to suspension and expulsion (Conners et al., 2018). The administrators at the Arkansas Division of Child Care and Early Childhood Education (AR DCCECE), which administers the state Child Care Development Block Grant (CCDBG) to support the care of more than 3,500 children birth to age 5 each year, have implemented a set of policies and initiatives intended to support young children’s social-emotional (SE) development, reduce the use of exclusionary practices in their Child Care Development Fund (CCDF) funded programs, and promote overall child care program quality. These initiatives aim to reduce the use of exclusionary practices while giving teachers and providers the necessary tools for creating environments and interactional approaches that support positive social-emotional development.

This report summarizes the existing administrative data infrastructure and recommendations for the Arkansas Suspension and Expulsion Work Group with the next steps to support better use of administrative data. Its purpose is to inform the implementation of Arkansas’ expulsion prevention policy and the use of supports that enable providers to meet the needs of children with challenging behaviors. The recommendations in this report are based on our work with the Arkansas Suspension and Expulsion Work Group led by AR DCCECE.

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