Monday, October 21, 2002

KIPP Charter Model Shows Impressive Test Scores

Jay Mathews reports that the KIPP Academy charter schools are making consistent academic progress:

The study says the KIPP DC/KEY Academy, which opened a year ago with 80 fifth-graders in a Southeast Washington church basement, posted unusually large increases on the Stanford 9 achievement test.

The students took the exam in fall 2001 and again in spring 2002. On a 99-point scale, they improved their average reading score from about 34 to 46 and their average math score from about 41 to 65. The results are similar to percentile scores, and the average score for the nation is about 50.

The fall-to-spring gains at the KIPP DC/KEY Academy were more than twice the increases that students typically achieve from one spring to the next on the exam, the study says. About 80 percent of the school's students qualify for federally subsidized lunches.

KIPP uses a funding model that combines the charter school per-pupil funding with outside philanthropic funding.

All of KIPP's 15 schools are public, using tax dollars alloted to charter and independent schools, although 18 percent of their money comes from outside sources, including the Walton Family Foundation and the Challenge Foundation. Outside funding drops to 12 percent in established grade 5-8 schools, KIPP officials say. Given the extra money and longer schools days, some educators wonder whether many other schools can follow KIPP's example.

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