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 Pub Number  Title  Date
NCEE 20174022 Evaluation of the DC Opportunity Scholarship Program: Impacts After One Year
The DC Opportunity Scholarship Program (OSP), established in 2004, is the only federally-funded private school voucher program for low-income parents in the United States. This report examines impacts on achievement and other outcomes one year after eligible children were selected or not selected to receive scholarships using a lottery process in 2012, 2013, and 2014. The study found negative impacts on student achievement but positive impacts on parent perceptions of school safety, for those participating in the program. There were no statistically significant effects on parents' or students' general satisfaction with their schools or parent involvement in education.
REL 2017236 Identifying South Carolina charter schools that are "beating the odds"
The purpose of this report was to determine which South Carolina charter schools performed better than could be predicted, considering demographic and socioeconomic characteristics. This study identified South Carolina charter schools as "beating the odds" when they outperform their predicted level of performance on standardized tests given school demographics using a hierarchical linear model approach. Results indicate that for grades 3–5 13 schools beat the odds in English language arts and 14 schools beat the odds in mathematics. For grades 6–8, 12 schools beat the odds in English language arts and nine schools beat the odds in mathematics.
REL 2017188 Leadership characteristics and practices in South Carolina charter schools
The purpose of this descriptive study was to identify characteristics of charter school leaders in South Carolina, determine how they spend their work hours, understand the time they spend on challenges to their work, and learn who influences their schools' policies. REL Southeast researchers collaborated with the South Carolina Department of Education (SCDE) and other charter school policymakers and practitioners to develop a survey based on items from the school and principal questionnaires of the U.S. Department of Education, National Center for Education Statistics Schools and Staffing Survey. SCDE administered the survey to the 66 leaders in charter schools across the state operating during the 2014/15 school year. Forty leaders provided responses. Results indicate that the leaders have many similar demographic, educational, and employment characteristics and reasons for becoming charter school leaders. They worked an average almost 60 hours per week, spending more hours on activities related to communication with families and on school regulations and policies than on other tasks. Many of them spent time daily on school safety. A majority of the leaders were frequently challenged by state education agency requirements and services and sponsor intervention, but leaders were rarely or never challenged by staffing issues or board intervention. In addition, the leaders reported having more influence than any other entity over most of their schools' policies, except policies related to classroom instruction, academic guidance, athletics, and student assessment, which their staff influenced more and board membership policies that their board influenced more. This study was a first step toward understanding what characteristics and activities of charter school leaders in South Carolina may lead to improved school performance. Further research is needed to link school leadership characteristics and time management practices to school and student performance and other outcomes.
WWC QR82328 Quick Review: Charter schools' effects on long-term attainment and earnings.
The study uses a quasi-experimental design (QED) using matching techniques. The study sample was first restricted to students who attended charter schools in eighth grade. Students then transitioning to a charter high school for ninth grade were placed in the intervention group and those transitioning to a non-charter high school for ninth grade were available for the comparison group. Then, students in the charter high school group were matched to the non-charter group using " . . . a one-to-one nearest-neighbor Mahalanobis matching approach" (p. 5) with no caliper restriction and replacement. Four cohorts of students were included in the sample, including students who were in eighth grade in the school years 1997-1998 through 2000-2001. The two groups included 1,143 students each.
NCEE 20164003 Applying to the DC Opportunity Scholarship Program: How Do Parents Rate Their Children's Current Schools at Time of Application and What Do They Want in New Schools?
The DC Opportunity Scholarship Program (OSP), established in 2004, is the only federally-funded private school voucher program for low-income parents in the United States. This evaluation brief describes findings using data from more than 2,000 applicants' parents, who applied to the program from spring 2011 to spring 2013 following reauthorization under the Scholarships for Opportunity and Result (SOAR) Act of 2011. The application form asked parents to rate elements of their child's current school with which they were satisfied or dissatisfied and to indicate which elements were top priorities for them when looking for a new school. The ratings provide insights about school-related reasons parents may have had for applying for a voucher and what they were looking for in a new school.
WWC SSR220 WWC Review of the CREDO Charter School Studies
The study, National Charter School Study: 2013, examined the effect of charter schools on annual student achievement growth in reading and math in 25 states, the District of Columbia, and New York City. The study primarily used data on students in grades 3-8, but additional elementary and high school grades were included for several states. Researchers compared year-to-year test score changes from state-level standardized reading and math tests administered during the 2008–09 through 2010–11 school years. This research meets WWC evidence standards with reservations. Although the charter school students and traditional students were well matched, using demographic and academic characteristics, unobserved differences may have existed. In addition, the study results are difficult to interpret because they blend 1-year gains from the first year of charter school attendance and 1-year gains during subsequent years.
WWC SSR222 WWC Review of the Report "KIPP Middle Schools: Impacts on Achievement and Other Outcomes, Final Report"
The 2013 study, KIPP Middle Schools: Impacts on Achievement and Other Outcomes, Final Report, examined whether attending a Knowledge is Power Program (KIPP) middle school improved students’ academic performance for up to 4 years following enrollment. For the experimental portion of the study, researchers used admissions lotteries to place about 1,000 students into either a KIPP middle school or a traditional middle school. For the quasi-experimental portion of the study, researchers used baseline achievement and demographic characteristics to match 15,916 students in 41 KIPP middle schools with similar students who had attended non-KIPP public middle schools in the same school district in the previous year. Researchers then used state assessments in math, reading, science, and social studies to measure student achievement. The experimental portion of the study meets WWC evidence standards without reservations for the 1-year follow-up. However, the research on the later follow-ups meets standards with reservations because of the large number of students who stopped participating in the study. The quasi-experimental portion of the study meets WWC evidence standards with reservations; although the KIPP students and traditional public school students included in the analysis were well-matched, other differences may have existed between the groups that could have influenced student achievement.
NCES 2013312 Characteristics of Public and Private Elementary and Secondary Schools in the United States: Results From the 2011–12 Schools and Staffing Survey
This First Look report provides descriptive statistics and basic information from the 2011–12 Schools and Staffing Survey Public and Private School Data Files.
WWC QR00223 "Charter Schools and the Road to College Readiness: The Effects on College Preparation, Attendance and Choice"
The study examined whether attending a Boston charter school affected students' high school and college outcomes. The study compared charter school students who were admitted via a random admission lottery and attended one of the six study charter schools to students who applied but were not admitted via lottery and instead attended another public school in Massachusetts. The study reported that students attending the six Boston charter schools included in the study scored significantly higher on the 10th grade state assessments in both English language arts and math, had significantly higher SAT scores, and were significantly more likely to attend a 4-year postsecondary institution than students who applied but were not admitted. There were no statistically significant differences between groups in AP exam passing rates, high school graduation rates, or overall college enrollment rates.
WWC QR1221 Charter School Performance in New Jersey
The study examined whether students in grades 3-8 attending charter schools in New Jersey made more gains in math and reading achievement than similar students attending traditional public schools. Based on an analysis across charter schools, the authors reported that charter school students made significantly greater year-to-year gains in math and reading than similar students in non-charter schools. The authors also reported that the impact of attending a charter school on student math and reading achievement gains varied from school to school. Although students at some charter schools showed significantly higher or significantly lower achievement gains compared to students in non-charter schools, most charter schools had student gains that were not different from the gains of students in non-charter schools.
WWC QR0912 Quick Review: "The Effects of School Vouchers on College Enrollment: Experimental Evidence from New York City"
The study examines the effects of private school vouchers on college enrollment outcomes. The vouchers were given to low-income elementary-age students through the New York School Choice Scholarships Foundation (SCSF) program. The study found no differences of the offer of a school voucher on college enrollment; however, there was a positive impact of vouchers on college enrollment (part-time and full-time) for African-American students. In addition, the study reported that African-American students who were offered a school voucher had statistically significantly higher rates of attending a private 4-year university or a selective 4-year university. The study also found no statistically significant effects of school vouchers on any of the outcomes assessed for the subgroup of Hispanic students.
NCES 2012046 Higher Education: Gaps in Access and Persistence Study
The Higher Education: Gaps in Access and Persistence Study is a congressionally-mandated statistical report that documents the scope and nature of gaps in access and persistence in higher education by sex and race/ethnicity. The report presents 46 indicators grouped under seven main topic areas: (1) demographic context; (2) characteristics of schools; (3) student behaviors and afterschool activities; (4) academic preparation and achievement; (5) college knowledge; (6) postsecondary education; and (7) postsecondary outcomes and employment. In addition, the report contains descriptive multivariate analyses of variables that are associated with male and female postsecondary attendance and attainment.
WWC SSRSC12 WWC Review of the Report "Charter-School Management Organizations: Diverse Strategies and Diverse Student Impacts"
The 2012 study, Charter-School Management Organizations: Diverse Strategies and Diverse Student Impacts, examined the effect of non-profit charter-school management organizations (CMOs) on middle school student achievement, high school graduation rates, and post-secondary enrollment rates. CMOs operate multiple charter schools under a common structure and philosophy. The intervention sample included over 13,600 students who attended 68 middle schools operated by 22 CMOs and nearly 2,700 students who attended 13 high schools operated by six CMOs. The authors matched each CMO school student with similar students attending non-CMO public schools. Study authors measured the effectiveness of each CMO separately by comparing the outcomes of CMO school students with those of the non-CMO school students. The study found that the CMOs had no statistically significant impact on state assessments in math, reading, science, or social studies among middle school students. Among the high school sample, there was no statistically significant effect on graduation rates and rates of post-secondary enrollment. However, the average impact on the rate of post-secondary enrollment was substantively important. Researchers also reported impacts separately for each CMO and found substantial variation in the direction, magnitude, and statistical significance of the impacts. Although the study matched CMO school students to traditional public school students on observable characteristics, it is possible that there were other differences between the two groups that were not accounted for in the analysis but could have influenced student achievement. Therefore, the research described in this report meets WWC evidence standards with reservations.
WWC SSRSC121 WWC Review of the Report "Milwaukee Parental Choice Program Longitudinal Educational Growth Study Fifth Year Report"
The study examined the effectiveness of the Milwaukee Parental Choice Program (MPCP), which provides vouchers for low-income students to attend private schools. In 2010, about 21,000 children participated in the MPCP, and the maximum voucher amount was nearly $6,500. The study estimated the effect of the voucher program by comparing over 600 MPCP students' standardized test scores in 2010--four years after they were given a voucher--with those of comparison group students.
REL 2012023 How California's Local Education Agencies Evaluate Teachers and Principals
This REL West Technical Brief, How California's local education agencies evaluate teachers and principals, summarizes the results of a statewide survey of teacher and principal evaluation practices across school districts and direct-funded charter schools in California. Key findings include:
  • Sixty-one percent of responding local education agencies indicated that their teacher evaluation systems are based on the California Standards for the Teaching Profession.
  • For teacher evaluation, 57 percent of respondents reported using student achievement outcomes or growth data as partial or primary evidence. For principal evaluation, 79 percent reported using these data.
  • Eighty-two percent of responding direct-funded charter schools reported using student achievement or growth data as partial or primary evidence for teacher evaluation, compared with 45 percent of districts. For principal evaluation, the figures were 85 percent of charter schools and 76 percent of districts.
  • More than two-thirds of local education agencies reported having two or three performance rating levels for their teachers (37 percent had two levels, and 35 percent had three) and principals (40 percent had two levels, and 30 percent had three). Local education agencies with two rating levels reported that 98 percent of teachers and 83 percent of principals were rated in the highest category; agencies with three rating levels reported that 91 percent of teachers and 98 percent of principals were rated in the highest category.
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