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Mathematica Finds Positive Results in First Report on National Study of KIPP Schools
Consistent, Substantial Positive Impacts on Math and Reading Achievement

Media Advisory: June 22, 2010

Contact: Amy Berridge, (609) 945-3378

Press Events:  National Press Club, Washington, D.C., 10 a.m. EST, June 22, 2010, hosted by The KIPP Foundation

Media conference call: 12 p.m. EST, June 22, 2010, hosted by Mathematica Policy Research. Toll-free dial-in number (U.S. and Canada): (866) 289-1939 Conference code: 5938740179

Issue: The Knowledge is Power Program (KIPP) is a network of charter schools designed to transform and improve the educational opportunities available to low-income families, and ultimately, prepare students to enroll and succeed in college. KIPP has grown from a core of two middle schools established in the mid 1990s to a nationwide network of 82 schools in 19 states and the District of Columbia. In the wake of its growth, the KIPP Foundation was eager to rigorously assess the programs’ effectiveness and identify best practices that lead to positive student outcomes.

Study: Mathematica Policy Research is conducting a multiyear evaluation of KIPP scheduled to continue through 2014. The evaluation includes both experimental and quasi-experimental components designed to examine KIPP’s impacts on student achievement and college readiness. This initial report uses a matched, comparison group design to estimate KIPP’s effects on achievement in 22 middle schools—making this the first study that applies a rigorous (nonexperimental) methodological approach across a nationwide sample of KIPP schools.

Findings: For the vast majority of KIPP schools included in the initial report, impacts on students’ state assessment scores in mathematics and reading are positive, statistically significant, and educationally substantial. The main findings include:

  • Impacts for large majorities of the 22 KIPP middle schools included in the study are positive in both reading and math in all four years after students enter KIPP schools.

  • Impacts in many KIPP schools are large. Three years after entering KIPP schools, many students are experiencing achievement effects that are approximately equivalent to an additional year of instruction, enough to substantially reduce race- and income-based achievement gaps.

  • Students entering these 22 KIPP schools typically had prior achievement levels lower than average achievement in the schools of their local districts.

  • Compared to the public schools from which they draw students, KIPP middle schools have student bodies characterized by higher concentrations of poverty and racial minorities, but lower concentrations of special education and limited English proficiency students.

Quote: “The positive impacts in KIPP schools are compelling in their consistency and size across diverse states and students served,” said Christina Clark Tuttle, researcher at Mathematica and co-author of the report. “In future reports, we’ll incorporate even more KIPP schools and students, examine effects on other student outcomes beyond state test scores, and test the robustness of the results against different analytic methods.”

The Report: “Student Characteristics and Achievement in 22 KIPP Middle Schools.” Christina Clark Tuttle, Bing-ru Teh, Ira Nichols-Barrer, Brian P. Gill, and Philip Gleason.

About Mathematica: Mathematica Policy Research, a nonpartisan research firm, provides a full range of research and data collection services, including program evaluation and policy research, survey design and data collection, research assessment and interpretation, and program performance/data management, to improve public well-being. Its clients include federal and state governments, foundations, and private-sector and international organizations. The employee-owned company, with offices in Princeton, N.J., Ann Arbor, Mich., Cambridge, Mass., Chicago, Ill., Oakland, Calif., and Washington, D.C., has conducted some of the most important studies of education, health care, international, disability, family support, employment, nutrition, and early childhood policies and programs.