The Charter Blog

Key Findings from CREDO’s CMO Study

Written by National Alliance | Sep 26, 2017 5:10:01 PM

This summer, the Center for Research on Education Outcomes (CREDO) released their latest report on charter school networks and management organizations. CREDO’s study utilizes student-level data from 25 states and Washington D.C. to determine the average rate of math and reading growth for 240 Charter Management Organizations (CMOs) and 54 Vendor Operated School Networks (VOS Networks) between 2012-13 and 2014-15. CREDO classifies CMOs as organizations that directly operate and hold the charter contracts of at least three charter schools. In contrast, VOS Networks oversee at least three charter schools but they do not directly hold the charter contract for the schools. Instead, VOS Networks provide services to the charter schools that range from administrative support to full operation of the school. CREDO then looked at the performance of CMOs, VOS Networks, and independent charter schools (standalone schools that are not affiliated with a management organization or network). Across these three groups CREDO found that:

  • Students in CMOs gained 17 additional days of learning in math and reading.
  • Students in VOS Networks gained 11 additional days of learning in reading. Their math scores were not statistically different from their peer group.
  • Students in independent charter schools gained 6 additional days of learning in reading. Their math scores were not statistically different from their peer group.

CREDO again found significant variations in outcomes across states, demographic groups, and management organizations and networks. However, many of the most widely known management organizations performed incredibly well on CREDO’s study:

 

Standard Deviations

Days of Learning

Management Organization

Math

Reading

Math

Reading

DSST Public Schools

0.30

0.22

171

125

Harmony Public Schools

0.13

0.07

74

40

IDEA Public Schools

0.14

0.13

80

74

KIPP Public Schools*

0.10

0.08

57

46

National Heritage Academies

0.14

0.11

80

63

Noble Network of Charter Schools

0.31

0.19

177

108

Success Academy

0.40

0.21

228

120

Uncommon Schools*

0.24

0.15

137

86

Yes Prep Public Schools

0.11

0.10

63

57

Average

0.21

0.14

118

80

Notes: An asterisk denotes that the results are reported at the super network (or network of networks) level. Days of Learning is based on CREDO's 570 day estimate per standard deviation of growth.

Across these high-performing networks, students gained an average of 118 additional days in math and 80 additional days in reading. However, even within networks, CREDO found significant variations in performance. For example, KIPP Bay Area, KIPP Colorado, and KIPP D.C. performed much better than KIPP Chicago and KIPP Memphis. While VOS Networks did not perform as well as CMOs, two large VOS Networks produced strong results: National Heritage Academies (NHA) and Victory Schools. NHA students gained 80 additional days of learning in math and 63 additional days in reading and students at Victory Schools gained 102 additional days of learning in math and 51 additional days of learning in reading.

The National Alliance is agnostic as to management type—as there are examples of exceptional charter schools in each category. However, we do believe that there is more work to be done in ensuring that all students have access to a high-quality public school option. High performing charter schools, regardless of their management structure, can serve as a catalyst for reinvigorated public education systems that eliminate achievement gaps, boost graduation rates, and revitalize communities.