Friday, June 25, 2010

Study supports KIPP success

And here's the Houston Chronicle article:

A common refrain among those who question the impressive test scores consistently posted by low-income children attending Houston-based KIPP charter schools is that school administrators game the system by skimming top students from traditional public schools and kicking out those who can't keep up.

But a study being released today concludes most students come to KIPP academically behind their peers and finds their average attrition rate is in line with other schools.

"What we're finding is results that are positive," said Brian Gill, a senior social scientist with Mathematica Policy Research Inc., a Princeton, N.J.-based nonprofit research group. "They're statistically significant in most cases, and they're educationally big."

…KIPP co-founder Mike Feinberg said he hopes the work reassures supporters and silences naysayers.

"This is great news for the people who have already had faith in us," he said. "For the people who have been on the fence, I hope this makes them true believers."

…Nelson Smith, president of the National Alliance for Public Charter Schools, said there is already plenty of evidence to convince policy-makers to allow KIPP and other successful charters to expand. Texas, however, only has a handful of charters to issue before the state reaches its cap of 215.

"It helps demolish some of the myths that people hold about KIPP," Smith said. "Some of the ways people have tried to excuse or explain KIPP's success just don't hold water."

The report showed that KIPP schools are much more likely to hold students back a grade if they can't do the work, especially in the fifth and sixth grades. At KIPP's southeast Houston middle school, for example, 6.6 percent of fifth-graders were retained, compared to the state average of less than 2 percent.

"The differences likely capture KIPP's philosophy that students should be promoted to the next grade level only after they have demonstrated mastery of their current grade's material," according to the report.

Or as Feinberg put it: "I remind everyone all the time that climbing the mountain to college is not a race. It's not when you get to the top, it's what you know when you get there."


Study supports KIPP success

Review shows school isn't gaming system


June 22, 2010, 6:12AM

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