"A child's learning is the funtion more of the characteristics of his classmates than those of the teacher." James Coleman, 1972

Sunday, November 15, 2009

More on Bay Area KIPP Attrition Rates

Many thanks to Caroline Grannan, who sent these comments that are extremely relevant to this earlier post on the KIPP attrition rates that go unreported in the corporate media:
One thing that the study on KIPP attrition that you cite did not research was the ethnic breakout of the students who "left." But I've done some of that (as an unpaid volunteer advocate for public education). So here is some critical additional information!

This is research that I did in February 2007 on KIPP Bridge Academy in Oakland, Calif.:

Here are the figures for KIPP Bridge's class that finished 8th grade in 2006:

Total enrollment, all demographics:
87 students started 5th grade in 02-03;
60 continued to 6th grade in 03-04;
50 continued to 7th grade in 04-05;
36 continued to 8th grade in 05-06.

IMPORTANT NOTE: Those are fall statistics, so we don't know how many actually finished 8th grade and were promoted to high school.
Similar pattern for the class that is to finish 8th grade in 2007:
82 started 5th grade in 03-04;
78 continued to 6th grade in 04-05;
47 continued to 7th grade in 05-06;
number who finished 8th grade unknown.

African-American boys:
35 started 5th grade in 02-03;
19 continued to 6th grade in 03-04;
15 continued to 7th grade in 04-05;
8 continued to 8th grade in 05-06.

Again, those are fall figures, so we don't know how many finished 8th grade and were promoted to high school. This means 77% of the African-American boys who started at this KIPP school either left or were retained to repeat a grade (this is unknowable unless KIPP chooses to tell us) by the FALL of 8th grade. We also don't know, unless KIPP chooses to tell us, how many of those eight finished 8th grade and went on to high school.

I looked at figures for all then-nine California KIPP schools when I did that research. Six of them showed that same clear pattern -- high attrition, but far higher for the most academically challenged demographic subgroup -- either African-American boys or Latino boys. The SRI study that you cite was done AFTER I did my research, and confirms it, except that as I say, that study didn't break out the attrition by ethnicity.

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