City Studies

Overview of the Study

The goal of the City Studies Project is to provide the public with periodic reports of academic performance for public K-12 schools in selected cities across the United States.

We hope that the findings provide a solid foundation for informed evaluations of and constructive discussion on the performance of the schools in these cities by stakeholders invested in public education.

Schools’ academic performance is defined by the average academic progress of students from one year to the next. By focusing on academic growth, we can understand the unique contributions of schools to student success while accounting for differences in student groups (such as socioeconomic status) which can influence performance.

Analyses for the project consider the performance of students grouped in a variety of ways. We examine student performance for:

  • The city as a whole
  • Students in traditional district schools and charter schools
  • Students in innovation schools or magnet schools, where applicable
  • Black students and Hispanic students, by sector
  • Students living in poverty, by sector
  • Students with English Language Learner (ELL) status, by sector
  • Students receiving special education services, by sector
  • Male students and female students, by sector

Our analyses compare the academic performance of these various student groups in the city to average statewide academic performance. We also compare the performance of charter school students (and magnet or innovation school students, where applicable) to the performance of similar district students within the city. We control for student characteristics when making those comparisons.