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Report: KIPP middle school students outperform district peers

KIPP middle schools across the country enroll more low-income, minority students than their district school peers, yet their students have higher test scores, according to a report out today.

The report, from Mathematica Policy Research and commissioned by the KIPP Foundation, studies 22 middle schools in the KIPP charter network, four of which are in New York City. Its findings show that on average, KIPP middle school students have higher reading and math scores than their peers in district schools. It also suggests that students at these middle schools are outscoring their peers by greater margins than students at other New York City charter schools.

The report finds that, in some ways, students at KIPP middle schools arrive with more disadvantages than the district students the report compares them to. They’re more likely to be low-income and minority and in half of the KIPP schools, they enroll with lower test scores. But they’re also less likely to require special education services or not speak English. The report notes:

The proportion of students enrolled in special education was significantly lower in 12 out of the 22 schools in the sample. KIPP enrolled a significantly lower proportion of LEP [Limited English Proficiency] students in 13 of 17 schools located in districts with data on this indicator.

The report’s authors write that in future studies, they plan to look at more of KIPP’s middle schools — there are 55 nationally — and will look at results other than state test scores.

A study from two University of Pennsylvania researchers of the Harlem Success Academy charter schools reached a similar conclusion: the third graders admitted to the school outperformed those who applied but didn’t win the lottery to get in. The gap in results widened even more when the Harlem Success students were compared to demographically-similar students who never applied.

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