As the KIPP network of public charter schools continues to expand, KIPP is largely maintaining positive impacts on student achievement, according to Mathematica Policy Research. The report from Mathematica's five-year study—the first to rigorously examine impacts at all grade levels of elementary and secondary education—found that KIPP schools have positive, statistically significant, and educationally meaningful impacts on student achievement, particularly at the elementary and middle school levels.
Key findings include:
- KIPP elementary schools have positive, statistically significant, and educationally meaningful impacts on three of four measures of reading and mathematics skills.
- Consistent with prior research, KIPP middle schools have positive, statistically significant, and educationally meaningful impacts on student achievement in math, reading, science, and social studies. Average impacts of middle schools were positive and statistically significant throughout the 10-year period covered by the study, though higher in earlier years than recent years.
- KIPP high schools have positive, statistically significant, and educationally meaningful impacts on student achievement for high school students new to the KIPP network. For students continuing to KIPP high schools from KIPP middle schools, impacts on achievement are not statistically significant. For this group of continuing KIPP students, KIPP high schools have positive impacts on a variety of college preparation activities and the likelihood of applying to college.
"This study builds on Mathematica's previous body of research on the KIPP model in middle schools by addressing the effects of KIPP elementary and high schools on student achievement and a variety of other outcomes," explains Christina Tuttle, senior researcher and lead author of the study. "For this new research, we wanted to answer the question of whether KIPP can maintain its effectiveness as the network grows—both in size, and in the grade levels it serves. Our research suggests that it does."
KIPP is a rapidly growing network of public charter schools with a mission to improve the education of low-income children and lay the foundation for their success in college. Started in 1994 as a middle school program, KIPP has since expanded to elementary and high schools. As the KIPP network has grown, it has focused on building strong leadership and maintaining positive academic results for its students. In 2010, the U.S. Department of Education awarded the KIPP Foundation a five-year, $50 million Investing in Innovation (i3) scale-up grant to help meet these goals. The foundation used the i3 grant to bolster its leadership pipeline and more than double the number of students it serves, from 27,000 to nearly 60,000 in 2015. Mathematica conducted an independent, five-year evaluation for the KIPP Foundation to assess KIPP's effectiveness at improving student outcomes on a larger scale under the i3 grant.