The KIPP Schools that KIPP Doesn’t Claim: What’s in a Name?

Posted on October 16, 2011

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It turns out that the names on the national website are different than the names turned into the Texas Education Agency for 5 of the 8 KIPP schools with less than average growth. No conspiracy here. But less transparency than one would hope for. If you don’t know the name of the school, how can you look up the school’s scores?

As the few regular readers of this blog know, I am working on a report that focuses on Texas charter schools. Many of the myths surrounding charter schools–especially the so-called high-performing charter schools–will be examined and some debunked.

In doing this research, I found something very, very curious. The Texas Education Agency lists a number of schools with the KIPP name. Yet, KIPP does not claim all of these schools on their national website. Kipp does not use the same names to identify schools with the Texas Education Agency and on the national KIPP website.

Maybe I missed the names on the national website (http://www.kipp.org/schools/school-directory). Maybe the Texas Education Agency made a mistake (not likely since the names are submitted by the districts). Maybe there is a perfectly reasonable explanation. But both Great Schools and the Texas Tribune list ALL the schools in the table below as KIPP Schools. Again, perhaps there is a logical explanation such as they do not consider schools that they take over from regular school districts (Such as the North Forest Schools) to be “REAL” KIPP schools. Their website even lists schools just opening, so it is not as if they have not updated the school list recently

A few things to note before the table. First, I have a column that indicates whether the school was included in the Texas Education Agency’s data on schools (all of them were included) and a column that indicates whether I could find the school on the KIPP website. I found most of the schools, but question marks note the ones I cannot find for certain. Also, I have added in the aka’s from the national website.

Also, I include data on student growth as calculated by the researchers hired by the Texas Comptroller’s Office to calculate student growth using student-level data. See http://fastexas.org/ for the data and methodological details. The study is pretty sophisticated, although the researcher do not appear to control for peer effects. But, overall, a generally well-done analysis. In the latest FAST data release, the researchers included the z-scores (see http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Standard_score or http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1xhCL5m4nI0) for overall student growth at each school relative to all other schools in the state at that school level (elementary-, middle-, or high-school).

A z-score of 0 indicates the average for the entire state. A positive z-score means the school performed better than average. The greater the positive z-score, the better the school performed. A negative z-score means the school scored lower than average. The lower the negative z-score, the worse the school performed compared to the other schools.

The FAST data includes a 3-year average and a 1-year average. As with all growth models, the three-year average is more accurate than the one-year average.

So, enough –here is the dang table already (revised version):


UPDATE I: One reader comments that the names on the National Website are different than the TEA names, but that they are the same schools. For example, KIPP East End is really KIPP Intrepid. I don’t know why you would do that, but ok

UPDATE II: KIPP Intrepid does appear to possibly be KIPP East End. But I cannot check and match by address because KIPP turned in one address to TEA for almost all of the schools.

UPDATE III: KIPP DREAM Prep is also KIPP NE Lower School DREAM.

UPDATE IV: New Table below, I still cannot find the North Forest schools on the KIPP website, but still looking. It really shouldn’t be this hard.

UPDATE V: KIPP 3rd Ward is not KIPP Peace.


UPDATE FINAL: Well, found most of them. I don’t know why so many of the lower-performing schools have different names on the national web site than on the state website. It sure makes it hard for anyone to figure out what is going on.

So, if you noticed what I noticed, a whole bunch of the lower performing schools (shaded in red) are NOT claimed as KIPP Schools on their national website. Some of these schools are SERIOUSLY under-performing. In fact, KIPP East End was the second worst middle school in the ENTIRE state in terms of student growth. Of course, it was the first year of the school. But four of the KIPP schools have a 3-year average z score lower than -1.0. This means they outperformed only about 15% of all schools in Texas. .

Why don’t they claim these schools on their website? I don’t know, but I’m quite curious as to why they don’t. And isn’t it curious as to why ALL of the higher performing schools on included on the website, but most of the low-performing ones are not?

Again, I could just be stupid and am totally missing something here (it has happened before). Or, there could be a logical explanation. If there is, I sure would like to know what it is. Stupidity on my part? Maybe. But sure don’t know why KIPP makes it so hard to look up data on their schools. And I still cannot find two of the schools and one other case doesn’t seem a 100% solid match.

Again–I never intended to claim any nefarious conspiracy, but why make it so hard for people to look up information on a school? Transparency is good, right?

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