2022 City Studies
Summary of Findings
This summary highlights major findings about students’ academic performance in public K-12 schools in Kansas City, Missouri. Performance is measured by one-year learning gains or growth students made from one school year to the next.1 We benchmark Kansas City students’ growth against the state average growth and then compare the progress of charter and signature school students with that of similar traditional district school students within Kansas City, accounting for student characteristics.
Students in Kansas City exhibited similar growth in 2017-18 and 2018-19 compared to the statewide average student in both reading and math.
Kansas City charter students posted stronger growth than the state average in both subjects across 2017-18 and 2018-19. Kansas City signature school students registered greater reading gains than the state average in 2017-18, but similar growth in 2018-19. For math, Kansas City signature school students showed similar performance than the state average in both 2017-18 and 2018-19. Students in Kansas City traditional district schools were on par with the statewide average student in both subjects across the two years.
Within Kansas City, Kansas City charter and signature students showed stronger growth in both subjects in 2017-18 than traditional district school students, while Kansas City charter students also showed stronger growth in math in 2018-19. In both years, Kansas City charter schools indicated no significant difference in reading and math relative to Kansas City signature schools.
A deeper dive into Kansas City student growth for the period ending in Spring 2019 reveals the following findings:
Charter School Type:
Kansas City charter schools make greater progress in reading compared to the state average, regardless of whether they are affiliated with a Charter Management Organization (CMO) or independent charter schools. For math, Kansas City charter schools in both school type exhibit similar learning gains relative to the state average. Within the Kansas City charter sector, there is no significant difference in learning gains between CMOs and independent charter schools in either reading or math.
Overall, Kansas City black students make similar learning gains in both reading and math when compared to the state average black student. Breakout analyses by sector suggest that black students enrolled in charter schools show greater growth in reading than the average black student in the state, while grow similarly in math. Kansas City signature and traditional district school black students grow similarly in both subjects compared to the state average. Sector comparisons within Kansas City indicate that black students enrolled in charter schools post stronger growth than district school black students in reading. There is no significant difference in learning gains in reading or math between black students in signature schools and black students in district schools within Kansas City.
Hispanic students in Kansas City overall do not grow differently in reading or math compared to the average Hispanic student in the state. Breakout analyses reveal different patterns by school sector: Kansas City charter school Hispanic students make greater math gains than the state average of Hispanic students, and do not grow differently in reading. Kansas City signature school Hispanic students post stronger gains in reading compared to the state average of Hispanic students, while do not show significant difference in math. Hispanic students enrolled in Kansas City district schools grow on par in both subjects relative to the average Hispanic student in the state. Shifting the focus to sector comparison within Kansas City, charter school Hispanic students exhibit similar growth in both subjects than district school Hispanic students. Signature school Hispanic students outperform traditional district school Hispanic students in reading, while do not grow differently in math compared to the Hispanic students at Kansas City traditional district school.
Poverty, ELL, and Special Education:
Kansas City students living in poverty show the same patterns across reading and math. Overall, they are on par with the average student in poverty in the state. Kansas City charter students in poverty exhibit stronger growth, while Kansas City signature and district school students in poverty do not grow differently than the average student in poverty statewide. Sector against sector comparisons within Kansas City demonstrate that compared to the district school students in poverty, charter students in poverty make greater progress in both subjects. Signature students in poverty post stronger growth in reading, while show similar math growth.
English Language Learners (ELLs) in Kansas City, overall, make similar learning gains in both subjects compared to the state average of ELLs. Sector breakout analysis indicate that ELL students in Kansas City charter schools outperform the average ELL statewide in math, while grow similarly in reading. ELL students enrolled in Kansas City signature and district schools make similar learning gains compared to the average ELL student in the state in both subjects. Comparisons of sectors within Kansas City reveal stronger growth in reading among ELLs at signature schools when they are compared to traditional district ELLs. In math, ELLs at Kansas City charter and signature schools post similar growth than ELLs at traditional district schools.
Kansas City students receiving special education services overall exhibit similar growth in both subjects. Special education students enrolled in Kansas City charter schools outpace the average special education statewide in reading and math, while no significant difference in learning gains is found between special education students served by Kansas City signature and district schools relative to the state average of students in special education in either subjects.
The only significant difference surfacing from cross-sector comparisons within Kansas City is that special education students in charter schools make greater gains in reading and math than special education students in traditional district schools.
Overall, male students in Kansas City exhibited similar growth across reading and math. Kansas City male students in charter and signature schools outperform the average male student in the state in reading. Male students from Kansas City charter or signature schools register math growth similar to the state average of male students. Male students enrolled in traditional district schools grow on par with state average of male students in both subjects. Within Kansas City, sector against sector comparison shows charter and signature male students exhibit stronger growth in reading, while make similar progress in math compared to male students at traditional district schools.
Kansas City female students post similar reading and math growth than the average female in the state. When broken down by school sector, female students enrolled in Kansas City charter schools make greater learning gains in math, while showing similar learning gains reading compared to the average female student in the state. Female students in signature and district schools in Kansas City do not differ significantly from the average female student in the state in either reading or math growth.
Comparisons of sectors within Kansas City reveal stronger growth in both subjects among female students at charter schools when they are compared to average female student in traditional district. Female students at Kansas City signature schools post stronger growth in reading, while showing similar gains in math than female students at traditional district schools.
1 In estimating the reading growth of high school students for the period ending in Spring 2018, we use student test scores from the 2015-16 school year as starting scores because there is a noncontiguous grade reading test (ie., no reading test taken in grade 9).
Presentation of Findings