Chicago’s Noble Street College Prep, a no-excuses charter high school, raises the test scores of students who win its admissions lottery, conclude researchers Matthew Davis and Blake Heller in Education Next.
The benefits don’t end there: Noble Street College Prep students are more likely to enroll in college, stay in college and get into a competitive four-year school.
Nearly all students in the Noble network of schools are Hispanic or black and 89 percent are eligible for subsidized school meals.
Schools in the network feature “frequent teacher feedback, data-driven instruction, high-dosage tutoring, increased instructional time, and high expectations,” Davis and Heller write.
The school day and year are longer, giving Noble students 18 percent more learning time than students in district schools.
Students are taught at their level in smaller groups organized by performance.
During morning and afternoon meetings, teachers track individual academic progress, mark behavioral infractions, and hold students accountable as a group for maintaining academic and behavioral standards. Each afternoon, teachers maintain office hours for optional academic support, which becomes mandatory if a student’s performance falls below a certain threshold. Most campuses also feature some form of after-school tutoring provided by outside organizations.
Noble aggressively recruits teachers with a demonstrated track record of success and rewards teachers whose students demonstrate above-average academic growth with performance bonuses.
Ninth graders, who often come from low-performing schools, score below the average for Chicago Public School students, Davis and Heller write. In only a few years, these students “are prepared to enroll and succeed in college”