KIPP students gain an additional eight to 11 months of learning in reading and math over three years, compared to students in nearby middle schools,say Mathematica researchers. Student attrition doesn’t explain KIPP’s success, they write in Education Next.
KIPP middle schools and the district-run schools nearby have similar attrition patterns: Lower achievers are more likely at both kinds of schools.
What’s different is that KIPP schools admit fewer transfers in seventh and eighth grade and late entrants tend to be higher achieving than those who started in fifth grade.
However, most KIPP gains occur in the first year, before anyone’s left or transferred, say the Mathematica analysts.
Compared to feeder elementary schools, KIPP students are more likely to be black or Latino and low-income. They are slightly less likely to be English Learners or in special education. Prior achievement is the same.
However, it’s hard to measure “parent characteristics, prior motivation, or student behavior,” the researchers write. “For example, KIPP students might benefit from attending school with peers who are especially motivated to accept KIPP’s academic and behavioral demands.”