NCTL's President on New Report Showing Success of KIPP Middle Schools

Jennifer Davis, NCTL Co-founder & President and Vice President of the KIPP Massachusetts Board of Trustees, issued the following statement today on the release of Mathematica Policy Research’s report, KIPP Middle Schools: Impacts on Achievement and Other Outcomes:

I applaud KIPP’s students, teachers, and school leaders on the report’s findings that KIPP middle schools have significant and substantial positive impacts on student achievement in four core academic subjects: reading, math, science, and social studies as well as on a measure of higher order thinking skills. High-poverty student achievement gains of this kind are unprecedented in education and we hope that more schools – both district and charter – will look to KIPP as a model for what works in helping children in high-poverty communities succeed.

After a rigorous review of the data, Mathematica Policy Research reveals that the KIPP middle schools have positive and statistically significant impacts on student achievement across all years and all subject areas examined.  Further, after a three-year period, KIPP students gained 11 additional months of learning in math, 8 additional months in reading, 14 additional months of learning in science, and 11 additional months of learning in social studies when compared to students in comparable traditional public schools. These are the kinds of gains that are necessary for high-poverty students to succeed in high school, college, the workforce and in life.    

One of KIPP’s original five organizational pillars is “more time spent learning.”  KIPP middle school students spend an average of nine hours per day, for 192 days each year, in school, compared to a 6 ½ hour 180 traditional school calendar.  This means that KIPP students, on average, spend nearly fifty percent more time in school than their peers in traditional district schools.

As a part of the study, Mathematica also compared higher-performing and lower-performing KIPP schools to better understand what characteristics most impacted learning. The report said that class size, teacher experience, and professional development opportunities were not associated with higher achievement scores.  Instead, the report said, achievement was greater at KIPP schools where principals report a more comprehensive school-wide behavior system and where more time was spent on core academic activities.

The National Center on Time & Learning is dedicated to helping traditional district schools implement these types of impactful reforms—especially additional time in school. It is encouraging to have yet another research study point to the importance of schools expanding time for core academic subjects. NCTL believes, as does KIPP, however, that expanded school time must also include time for the arts, music, physical education and opportunities to explore new skills and interests. It is clear, then, if our goal as a nation is to prepare all students for college, career and life success, and provide a high-quality, well-rounded education regardless of socioeconomic status, our schools serving high-poverty students require the reform—and expansion— of the outdated American school schedule. 

The National Center on Time & Learning will continue to track the progress of KIPP schools as well as the over 1,000 schools across the country joining KIPP in this movement to expand learning time.