ERIC Number: EJ1122078
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2017
Raising More than Test Scores: Does Attending a "No Excuses" Charter High School Help Students Succeed in College?
Davis, Matthew; Heller, Blake
Education Next, v17 n1 p64-70 Win 2017
Do "no excuses" charter high schools merely help students succeed on standardized tests? Are their students more likely to succeed after they leave school behind? Is it test prep, or true learning? Little prior research is available on this question. Although there is a robust positive correlation between test performance and college enrollment, there is little existing evidence as to whether schools that increase test scores the most also help their students succeed at the next level. To shed light on these questions, Mathew Davis and Blake Heller studied Noble Street College Prep, a high-performing no-excuses charter high school in Chicago where admission is granted via randomized lottery. Student records were analyzed to estimate the effect of attending Noble on college enrollment, persistence, and quality, using success in postsecondary studies as a proxy for success in young adulthood. As no-excuses charter schools continue to expand, it is critical to understand whether the short-term academic gains they typically produce translate into long-term improvements in their students' quality of life. The authors of this article believe their findings present the strongest evidence to date of long-lasting academic benefits, and should be a cause for cautious optimism. They see three elements of this analysis that should be of interest: (1) Noble's educational model is broadly consistent with the practices of high-performing charter schools, and their secondary analysis suggests that scaling and reproducing these results is feasible. The estimated effects are large, persistent, and not driven by any particular subgroup of students; (2) The authors write that to the best of their knowledge, their results are the first to demonstrate conclusively that a high school intervention can simultaneously improve overall college enrollment, persistence, and quality; and (3) The authors contend that they demonstrate the effectiveness of an intervention that occurs relatively late in students' academic lives. While much of the public conversation around school improvement focuses on early childhood and the elementary years, in an effort to prevent or lessen inequitable outcomes for poor children, the authors believe it is clear that efforts such as Noble's intensive academic program which starts in 9th grade are never too late.
Descriptors: Charter Schools, High School Students, Scores, Public Schools, Standardized Tests, College Preparation, Enrollment, Selective Admission, Competitive Selection, Admission (School), College Entrance Examinations, Academic Achievement, College Bound Students, High School Graduates
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Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Research
Education Level: High Schools; Secondary Education; Higher Education; Postsecondary Education
Authoring Institution: N/A
Identifiers - Location: Illinois (Chicago)
Identifiers - Assessments and Surveys: ACT Assessment; SAT (College Admission Test)
Grant or Contract Numbers: N/A