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Changing the Principal Supervisor Role to Better Support Principals: Evidence from the Principal Supervisor Initiative

July 22, 2020

The principal supervisor job has traditionally revolved around administration, operations and compliance, but as principals have increasingly been called on in recent years to concentrate on supporting high-quality teaching, the idea of a complementary makeover of the supervisor job has gained attention. In 2014, with funding from The Wallace Foundation, six large school districts around the country embarked on a four-year, $24-million initiative to redesign the supervisor position so it focused primarily on supporting principals in their role as instructional leaders.This report, which looks at the final year and the effects of the Principal Supervisor Initiative, concludes that the effort succeeded in changing the job so that it centered on developing and evaluating principals to help them promote effective teaching and learning in their schools. Over the course of the initiative, principals' ratings of their supervisors' effectiveness rose from 3.88 to 4.10 on a scale of 1-to-5, a statistically significant increase. Principals reported greater frequency of supervisor practices to develop school leadership—such as helping principals with data analysis, providing them with useful feedback and working with them to assess teacher effectiveness.

Inside Online Charter Schools

October 27, 2015

Online charter schools -- also known as virtual charters or cyber charters -- are publicly funded schools of choice that deliver student instruction via telecommunications. Today, about 200 online charter schools are operating in the United States, serving about 200,000 students at the elementary, middle, and high school grade levels. Although online instruction is increasing rapidly, there have been few studies of their operations and effects. In innovative new research funded by the Walton Family Foundation, the National Study of Online Charter Schools offers a rigorous analysis of online charter schools and their effects. Mathematica Policy Research's report provides the first nationwide data and analysis of the operations and instructional approaches of online charter schools, based on data collected in a survey completed by 127 principals of online charter schools across the country and public data from the U.S. Department of Education.

Online Charter Schools' Operational and Instructional Practices: Highlights of Findings

October 27, 2015

Online charter schools -- also known as virtual charters or cyber charters -- are publicly funded schools of choice that deliver student instruction via telecommunications. Today, about 200 online charter schools are operating in the United States, serving about 200,000 students at the elementary, middle, and high school grade levels. Online instruction is increasing rapidly, but there have been few studies of its operations and effects. In innovative new research funded by the Walton Family Foundation, the National Study of Online Charter Schools fills this gap in the research. Mathematica Policy Research's report provides the first nationwide data and analysis of the operations and instructional approaches of online charter schools, based on data collected in a survey completed by 127 principals of online charter schools across the country.

Mathematica's Evaluation of The Equity Project Charter School: High Salaries for Teachers, Positive Impacts on Student Achievement

October 24, 2014

Mathematica found that by the end of the 2012 -- 2013 school year, TEP's impacts on student achievement were consistently positive across subjects and cohorts, with especially large effects in math. Using benchmarks for average annual learning gains, the research team found that, compared to similar students in comparable New York City public schools, students who attended TEP for four years had test score gains equal to an additional 1.6 years of school in math, an additional 0.4 years of school in English language arts, and an additional 0.6 years of school in science. Using another relevant benchmark, TEP's cumulative effect on student achievement over four years is approximately equivalent to 78% of the Hispanic-white achievement gap in math, 17% of the Hispanic-white gap in English language arts, and 25% of the Hispanic-white gap in science.

Charter High Schools' Effects on Educational Attainment and Earnings

January 30, 2014

This issue brief discusses a new analysis, using data from Florida and Chicago, suggesting that charter high schools are not only increasing postsecondary educational attainment but may also boost students' long-run earnings.

KIPP Middle Schools: Impacts on Achievement and Other Outcomes

February 27, 2013

The Knowledge Is Power Program (KIPP) is a rapidly expanding network of public charter schools whose mission is to improve the education of low-income children. As of the 2012 -- 2013 school year, 125 KIPP schools are in operation in 20 different states and the District of Columbia (DC). Ultimately, KIPP's goal is to prepare students to enroll and succeed in college.Prior research has suggested that KIPP schools have positive impacts on student achievement, but most of the studies have included only a few KIPP schools or have had methodological limitations. This is the second report of a national evaluation of KIPP middle schools being conducted by Mathematica Policy Research. The evaluation uses experimental and quasi-experimental methods to produce rigorous and comprehensive evidence on the effects of KIPP middle schools across the country.The study's first report, released in 2010, described strong positive achievement impacts in math and reading for the 22 KIPP middle schools for which data were available at the time. For this phase of the study, we nearly doubled the size of the sample, to 43 KIPP middle schools, including all KIPP middle schools that were open at the start of the study in 2010 for which we were able to acquire relevant data from local districts or states. This report estimates achievement impacts for these 43 KIPP middle schools, and includes science and social studies in addition to math and reading. This report also examines additional student outcomes beyond state test scores, including student performance on a nationally norm-referenced test and survey-based measures of student attitudes and behavior.

Learning From Charter School Management Organizations: Strategies for Student Behavior and Teacher Coaching

March 23, 2012

Describes charter school management practices linked to improved student achievement: setting high expectations for student behavior to promote a safe and focused learning environment and providing intensive individualized coaching for teachers.

Charter-School Management Organizations: Diverse Strategies and Diverse Student Impacts

November 10, 2011

Examines the growth of charter school management organizations, characteristics of students served, and use of resources; CMO practices; impact on students, including middle school test scores; and structures and practices linked to positive outcomes.

Achievement and Attainment in Chicago Charter Schools 2009

March 17, 2009

Examines whether Chicago's charter schools "skim the cream" of traditional public school students and how they affect racial stratification, test-score gains in elementary and middle grades, high school graduation and college entry rates, and ACT scores.

Charter Schools in Eight States: Effects on Achievement, Attainment, Integration, and Competition

March 17, 2009

Examines the student characteristics and effects of charter schools on students' test-score gains, high school graduation and college attainment rates, and test scores in nearby traditional public schools. Includes policy and research recommendations.

Achievement and Attainment in Chicago Charter Schools 2008

May 1, 2008

Examines whether charter schools draw high- or low-achieving students, how they affect the racial mix in the city's public schools, what achievement gains they realize, and what longer-term outcomes, as in graduation and college-entry rates, are expected.

Evaluating the Performance of Philadelphia's Charter Schools

March 19, 2008

Charter schools, publicly funded schools that operate autonomously outside the direct control of local school districts and generally enroll students through the choices of their parents rather than through residential assignment, have proven to be popular in Philadelphia. This report examines the effect charter schools are having on student achievement in Philadelphia. In addition to the schools' effect on reading and mathematics achievement, it looks at such questions as what types of students charter schools attract and whether charter schools have higher student turnover rates than traditional public schools. The authors find that students' average gains when attending charter schools are statistically indistinguishable from the gains they experienced while at traditional public schools. Charter schools are attracting students whose prior achievement levels (when they were in traditional district schools) are slightly below the district-wide average, but higher than the average achievement levels of the traditional public schools they left. There is no evidence that the district schools located in neighborhoods with the greatest charter competition are performing any differently as a result of the competition with charter schools.