New Mathematica Study on KIPP Charter Schools as They Scale Up; FYI, They Don't "Cream Off" Top Students

Skeptics of KIPP argue that these schools rely on selective admission, attrition, and replacement of students to produce positive achievement results. However, data on student characteristics provide little evidence that KIPP “creams” or selectively enrolls higher performing students at the middle school level (Tuttle et al. 2013). The typical KIPP student scored at the 45th percentile within the district—that is, below the district average—in reading and math prior to entering KIPP. Nearly all KIPP students (96 percent) are either black or Hispanic, and more than four-fifths (83 percent) are from households with incomes low enough to make them eligible for free or reduced-price school meals—percentages that exceed the averages at the (non-KIPP) elementary schools they attended prior to enrolling in KIPP middle schools. In contrast, KIPP students are somewhat less likely than students at these feeder elementary schools to have received special education services (9 versus 13 percent) or to have been classified as having limited English proficiency (10 versus 15 percent) when they were in elementary school. Patterns of student attrition from KIPP middle schools are similar to those at nearby non-KIPP public schools (Nichols-Barrer et al. 2015). However, unlike traditional public schools in surrounding districts, when students exit, KIPP schools tend to replace them with higher-achieving students, and fewer students are replaced in the later years of middle school. Still, KIPP’s positive achievement impacts do not appear to be explained by advantages in the prior achievement of KIPP students, even when attrition and replacement patterns are taken into account (Nichols-Barrer et al. 2015).
That's from the full report. These are the Key Findings:

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