Interesting paper from Joshua D. Angrist, Susan M. Dynarski, Thomas J. Kane, Parag A. Pathak, and Christopher R. Walters titled “Who Benefits from KIPP” that’s able to look in a rigorous way at whether the high performance of KIPP students relative to demographically similar non-KIPP students is merely the result of some kind of selection effect. They confirm earlier studies that indicate that it is not, and KIPP provides genuine value-added beyond what’s typical of American schools:
We use applicant lotteries to evaluate the impact of KIPP Academy Lynn, a KIPP charter school that is mostly Hispanic and has a high concentration of limited English proficiency (LEP) and special-need students, groups that charter critics have argued are typically under-served. The results show overall gains of 0.35 standard deviations in math and 0.12 standard deviations in reading for each year spent at KIPP Lynn. LEP students, special education students, and those with low baseline scores benefit more from time spent at KIPP than do other students, with reading gains coming almost entirely from the LEP group.
KIPP’s approach to teaching is considerably more time-intensive (we do lots of extended learning time stuff at CAP) than what you typically see in American schools, and it continues to be not-so-clear to me how far KIPP will be able to scale-up in any given market. But it keeps expanding and thus far the results of that expansion seem quite positive.