Working Paper: "No Excuses" Charter Schools: A Meta-Analysis | Teachers College Columbia University

Skip to content Skip to main navigation
Teachers College, Columbia University
Printer-friendly Version
Teachers College, Columbia Univeristy Logo

Working Paper: "No Excuses" Charter Schools: A Meta-Analysis

With steep behavioral and academic expectations, charter schools employing the philosophy of "No Excuses" have been praised and faulted: praised for bringing scholastic order to many disadvantaged communities and sending thousands of underprivileged students to college; faulted for enrolling a lower proportion of boys, English-language learners, and students with special needs than neighboring schools (and thus potentially increasing the pedagogical challenges facing those neighboring schools).

By Albert Cheng, Colin HItt, Brian Kisida, and Jonathan N. Mills
Working Paper No. 226
National Center for the Study of Privatization in Education

The answer to that question, according to a new paper entitled "'No Excuses' Charter Schools: A Meta-Analysis of the Experimental Evidence on Student Achievement," is substantial.

With steep behavioral and academic expectations, charter schools employing the philosophy of "No Excuses" have been praised and faulted: praised for bringing scholastic order to many disadvantaged communities and sending thousands of underprivileged students to college; faulted for enrolling a lower proportion of boys, English-language learners, and students with special needs than neighboring schools (and thus potentially increasing the pedagogical challenges facing those neighboring schools).

What has yet to be determined on a broad basis is to what degree students in charter schools employing this demanding approach have made gains in math and English language arts (ELA). In analyzing outcomes for admission lottery winners and losers at such charter schools, scholars have found in several studies of limited scale that lottery winners have done significantly better. In combining all these studies with high internal validity, Albert Cheng, Collin Hitt, Brian Kisida, and Jonathan N. Mills, the authors of this new paper, conclude that the gains in math and ELA are significant on a broad basis, too. The authors nevertheless caution that their findings concern math and ELA scores alone, not social and emotional learning. For insight into the impact of "No Excuses" charter schools on noncognitive skills, they call for further research.

Dispassionate and thorough, Cheng, Hitt, Kisida, and Mills base their determination on an assessment of over 18,000 students observed across the 10 most rigorously constructed studies of charter schools: four concerning "No Excuses" charter schools; four concerning conventional charter schools; and two concerning both. For clarity and documentation, this paper sheds new light on a central matter of educational privatization and choice and paves the way to additional inquiry.

View paper

Published Wednesday, Sep. 2, 2015

Working Paper: "No Excuses" Charter Schools: A Meta-Analysis

By Albert Cheng, Colin HItt, Brian Kisida, and Jonathan N. Mills
Working Paper No. 226
National Center for the Study of Privatization in Education

The answer to that question, according to a new paper entitled "'No Excuses' Charter Schools: A Meta-Analysis of the Experimental Evidence on Student Achievement," is substantial.

With steep behavioral and academic expectations, charter schools employing the philosophy of "No Excuses" have been praised and faulted: praised for bringing scholastic order to many disadvantaged communities and sending thousands of underprivileged students to college; faulted for enrolling a lower proportion of boys, English-language learners, and students with special needs than neighboring schools (and thus potentially increasing the pedagogical challenges facing those neighboring schools).

What has yet to be determined on a broad basis is to what degree students in charter schools employing this demanding approach have made gains in math and English language arts (ELA). In analyzing outcomes for admission lottery winners and losers at such charter schools, scholars have found in several studies of limited scale that lottery winners have done significantly better. In combining all these studies with high internal validity, Albert Cheng, Collin Hitt, Brian Kisida, and Jonathan N. Mills, the authors of this new paper, conclude that the gains in math and ELA are significant on a broad basis, too. The authors nevertheless caution that their findings concern math and ELA scores alone, not social and emotional learning. For insight into the impact of "No Excuses" charter schools on noncognitive skills, they call for further research.

Dispassionate and thorough, Cheng, Hitt, Kisida, and Mills base their determination on an assessment of over 18,000 students observed across the 10 most rigorously constructed studies of charter schools: four concerning "No Excuses" charter schools; four concerning conventional charter schools; and two concerning both. For clarity and documentation, this paper sheds new light on a central matter of educational privatization and choice and paves the way to additional inquiry.

View paper

How This Gift Connects The Dots
 
Scholarships & Fellowships
 
Faculty & Programs
 
Campus & Technology
 
Financial Flexibility
 
Engage TC Alumni & Friends