Study Shows School Uniforms Improve Attendance, But Not Grades


The school uniform debate isn’t exactly raging these days, but there’s still data to be gathered and examined as to how slacks and blazers affect school kids. According to a new study by researchers at the University of Houston, school uniforms seem to be decently effective at improving student attendance and teacher retention, but have no real impact on improving student achievement. For their data, researchers looked at the effects school uniforms had on a large urban school district in the Southwest United States.
Here’s the abstract:

Uniform use in public schools is rising, but we know little about how they affect students. Using a unique dataset from a large urban school district in the southwest United States, we assess how uniforms affect behavior, achievement and other outcomes. Each school in the district determines adoption independently, providing variation over schools and time. By including student and school fixed-effects we find evidence that uniform adoption improves attendance in secondary grades, while in elementary schools they generate large increases in teacher retention.

They further find that:

[U]niforms have a positive influence on student attendance in secondary grades. Attendance rates in grades 6 through 12 increase by 0.3 to 0.4 percentage points after a school adopts uniforms. On the other hand, we find little evidence that uniforms have lasting impacts on achievement, grade retention, or the likelihood of students switching schools or leaving the district for all genders and grade levels.

Chad C.

Uniforms ease the adolescent tension of needing to be different.


0,3 to 0,4 percent? What impact is that? That doe not even deserve to be mentioned


School uniforms suck!

Sad Mum

My daughter has scars from unusually livid looking stretch marks at the top of her legs and does not want the other children to see them when wearing the school (terrible looking) shorts. The only other option the school provides is a track suit bottom that makes even the skinniest kids look like Michelin men wearing them. They are truly dreadful. I am a supporter of school uniform in general as there are many benefits. I don't want my daughter stressing about what to wear in the morning and I don't want her to be in a Hollister competition, but I think that sometimes schools can just be too harsh. On a much more serious note, I have a issue with over compliance. I just think that rigidity fosters an attitude of intolerance that has no respect for the individual or his or her dignity. I know that there has to be a line, but remember what Confucius said, " The green reed which bends in the wind is stronger than the mighty oak which breaks in the storm". I think that a school that insists on such a high degree of compliance from pupils and parents, may have an issue or two that may be more important than school uniform to attend to don't you think?



Actually, some studies show that uniforms can improve grades.


I don't have a uniform at my school but I honestly think we should because there is Gang violence in the parking lot and bad cliques some days I don't want to go to school because of this. I am a sophomore and I'm 17 I get made fun of for my opinions. So here I am staing my opinion on uniforms


Don't fool yourself that uniforms help with cliques. Gang colours maybe, but I can attest to the fact uniforms didn't stop certain individual or groups of students being singled out for harassment.

Kayla Maloley

I totally agree that school uniforms has improved grades and attendance. I'm a senior and I was pregnant at 13 and my 5 year old would tell me that he wouldn't want to go to school because of the mean kids. So they actually made him and his school wear school uniforms.


School uniforms infringe on all our children's rights.. Whats next? All their hair must be shaved or same color. Sounds like a little bit of Hitler to me.. So, are we training our children, its OK to find a lower pay job where you must wear a uniform? After all the uniforms look like a McDonald's uniform. Are we taking away their freedom? YES! A uniform doesn't stop bullying, Peer pressure or drug problems.. In fact studies show it creates more problems between teachers and students and there are other studies that show low attendance. All we are doing is setting up children to be controlled by something that hasn't even be properly researched.


This is very interesting. Firstly am I right in thinking that an increase of 0.3-0.4% in attendance works out to roughly one day in every two school years? (roughly 180 days in a school year, times two is 360, 0.3-0.4% is 300-400). Which is statistically insignificant surely?

Secondly if it would be statistically significant, then increased attendance had no effect on grades, begging the question why go to school? (or perhaps more specifically, is there a point where going to school has no impact on learning as anything with diminishing marginal utility would?)


I love uniforms. They help me get good grades


so if uniforms improve attendance, but not grades, doesn't that mean that we could all just have less school but achieve the same grades? I've heard elsewhere that a 5% drop in attendance at GCSE (in the UK) drops you a grade, so surely attendance and attainment are linked?