Impacts of Uncommon Schools in a Turnaround Setting

Impacts of Uncommon Schools in a Turnaround Setting

Published: Aug 26, 2021
Publisher: Mathematica
Clients
Download
Authors

Moira McCullough

Breyon Williams

Key Findings
  • Enrollment in a TurnNJ school had positive and statistically significant impacts on student achievement in math that persisted up to four years after enrollment. After one year of enrollment, TurnNJ students had test score gains equal to an additional 1.8 years of learning in math compared to similar students at other schools. TurnNJ’s cumulative impact after four years of enrollment exceeded the size of the poverty test score gap in math.
  • Enrollment in a TurnNJ school had positive and statistically significant impacts on student achievement in English language arts that persisted up to four years after enrollment. After one year of enrollment, TurnNJ students had test score gains equal to an additional 1.9 years of learning in ELA relative to similar students at other schools. TurnNJ’s cumulative impact after four years of enrollment was about 89 percent of the poverty test score gap in ELA.

Uncommon Schools is a nonprofit charter management organization that starts and manages charter schools. The organization's model for operating schools is promising, with rigorous evidence of effectiveness in improving student outcomes. Uncommon typically opens new schools, building up from the earliest grades. However, as part of broader urban renewal initiatives and school turnaround efforts in Camden and Newark, New Jersey, Uncommon recently sought to apply its school model in a turnaround setting. Uncommon was awarded a 2016 grant from the U.S. Department of Education's Investing in Innovation Fund (i3) to support TurnNJ, a project intended to continue and expand Uncommon's whole-school turnaround efforts in six schools in Camden and Newark. In this study, we use a rigorous propensity score matching approach to assess the effectiveness of the TurnNJ project, as required by the i3 grant. We find that the three TurnNJ schools for which we could examine outcomes produced substantial positive effects on student achievement in math and English language arts.

Follow the Evidence

Interested in the most current findings from Mathematica? Subscribe to our bi-weekly newsletter, Evidence & Insights, to stay up to date with the issues that matter to you.

Sign Me Up