Researchers found that after three to four years in a KIPP school, students’ academic growth equaled an extra eight to 14 months of learning, depending on the subject area. This was despite the fact that students tend to enter KIPP schools with math and reading performance that lags behind that of students at the schools from which they transferred.
“KIPP study shows positive academic impact”, Lindsay Kastner, San Antonio Express-News, February 26, 2013; “New Report Finds KIPP Middle Schools Produce Significant Achievement Gains”, Mathematica Policy Research news release, February 27, 2013; fact sheet; report.
KIPP Aspire Academy, part of KIPP: San Antonio, was one of the middle schools included in the study. The study compared students who got into the lottery with those who didn’t, so the authors were able to control for factors like student motivation and family support.
More interesting findings:
The study found little evidence that KIPP schools “cream” or intentionally enroll higher-performing students, although it did find that KIPP students are less likely to be receiving special education services or to be identified as having limited English proficiency.
KIPP students also were more likely to self-report behaviors such as losing their temper, lying to or arguing with their parents and giving teachers a hard time.
KIPP San Antonio CEO Mark Larson said KIPP’s focus on character education means students simply are more likely to admit such behaviors.
“And they also have a higher benchmark for themselves,” Larson said. “I don’t think that’s a negative effect at all.”