KIPP middle schools take as many transfer students as nearby district schools, according to a Mathematica working paper (pdf). Furthermore, attrition rates for black males are lower than in neighboring schools, Mathematica found.
“KIPP’s success is not simply a mirage that is based on the results of a select number of high achievers who persist through 8th grade,” the researchers write.
A 2010 study by Mathematica found large achievement gains at KIPP schools, even when the scores of students who had left the schools were included, Inside School Research notes.
A Western Michigan study found high attrition for KIPP’s black males, charging that 40 percent of black male students leave between sixth and eighth grade. The study compared two or three KIPP schools to entire school districts.
Mathematica compared individual KIPP schools to neighboring district schools. “Our data is showing that KIPP loses black males overall at a lower rate than the local district schools,” said Christina Clark Tuttle, a senior researcher.
Urban black male students often change schools, whether they attend a district or charter school, but are less likely to leave the district.
KIPP students are more likely to be black or Hispanic and have lower incomes than students in the surrounding school districts, Mathematica confirmed.