Tuesday, February 12, 2013

Response to CREDO's Latest Report

Here is a friend’s summary of the latest study:

  1. Good charters stay good over time and bad ones stay bad
  2. Size doesn’t matter when it comes to performance (big CMOs do the same as small ones)
  3. Geographic concentration/dispersion doesn’t matter when it comes to performance
  4. Charter School Growth Fund portfolio schools do really well
  5. Uncommon and KIPP are both really good, with Uncommon having higher gains
  6. KIPP schools close the achievement growth gap (not absolute proficiency gap) and Uncommon reverses it (the section on KIPP begins on page 70 and on Uncommon Schools on page 85 of volume I of the study)
  7. KIPP Houston was the highest-performing KIPP region that was studied in ELA and KIPP LA was highest in math
  8. CMOs that open one grade-level at a time do better than those that open many grades at a time

And, just for fun, a quote that shows why researchers should not always be policy-makers.  They’ve got the causal effect backward here (they assert that since charter performance is stable, having a good start will ensure long-term success; in fact, charter success is stable because good operators run good schools and bad operators run bad schools, and that doesn’t change with size and age):

6.  As for individual schools, what matters most for eventual CMO quality is
to assure that the schools  that are started have high performance early. 
The story that is revealed by the study of CMOs is analogous to that for individual
charter schools: successive additions to a charter portfolio tend to hover around
the existing average, regardless of the nominal level of performance. Early
performance of the CMO is related to later performance, so attention in each and
every school to a high quality launch is essential, not just for the students in each
new school but for the history that is created for the remaining life of the CMO.

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