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Who Benefits from KIPP?

Who Benefits from KIPP?

School Reform, June 2012

In the first randomized lottery study of a Knowledge is Power Program (KIPP) school, researchers Joshua Angrist, Susan. Dynarski, Thomas Kane, Parag Pathak, and Christopher Walters discover that the students who benefit the most from KIPP are those coming in furthest behind. Journal of Policy Analysis and Managment.

The Knowledge is Power Program (KIPP) is the nation’s largest char­ter school man­age­ment orga­ni­za­tion, and schools in the KIPP net­work are emblem­at­ic of the No Excuses approach to pub­lic edu­ca­tion. Features of No Excuses schools include a long school day, an extend­ed school year, selec­tive teacher hir­ing, strict behav­ior norms, and a focus on tra­di­tion­al read­ing and math skills. The study exploits admis­sions lot­ter­ies to mea­sure the impact of KIPP Academy Lynn on stu­dent math and read­ing scores. Notably, KIPP Academy Lynn can be char­ac­ter­ized as most­ly Hispanic with a high con­cen­tra­tion of Limited English Proficiency (LEP) and spe­cial need stu­dents. While char­ter crit­ics have argued that these groups of stu­dents are typ­i­cal­ly under­served, the study of KIPP Academy Lynn, finds the oppo­site. That is, it is pre­cise­ly these stu­dents, groups with low incom­ing achieve­ment lev­els, ben­e­fit the most from time spent at KIPP. The read­ing gains, for instance, emerge almost entire­ly for the group of LEP stu­dents.