Special sauce detected?
Charter schools often seem to claim to have some special sauce – some methodology that enables them to perform better than traditional public schools (and tastes great too!)
But upon scrutiny, it usually turns out that the special sauce is either 1) favorable demographics, 2) some other kind of selection bias, or 3) the charter school isn’t actually performing that well, or the district schools are doing better than portrayed.
But now a large and credible study has come out, suggesting that KIPP charter schools at least are obtaining measurably higher performance. Now, for the vetting.
It’s kind of like sifting through data to find the Higgs boson. Or when one of the Mars rovers detects an unusual bubble in its test tubes that *might* be evidence of life, and everyone holds their breath to see if life is confirmed. Has special sauce been detected? Or will it be attributed to one of the usual explanations?
I’ll let Jay Mathews explain: Biggest study ever says KIPP gains substantial:
Mathematica Policy Research has released its five-year investigation of 43 KIPP schools — the largest study ever of any charter school network. It concludes: “the average impact of KIPP on student achievement is positive, statistically significant, and educationally substantial.” [...]
The central point is: KIPP teachers excel in reading, math, science and social studies, as proven by comparing their students to similarly disadvantaged children who do not attend KIPP.
“KIPP impact estimates are consistently positive across the four academic subjects examined in each of the first four years after enrollment in a KIPP school, and for all measurable student subgroups,” the report says. “A large majority of the individual KIPP schools in the study show positive impacts on student achievement as measured by scores on state-mandated assessments.”