Citizen Schools is committed to evaluation and our Research and Evaluation team, in partnership with our regional and campus staff, work hard all year long to monitor key student outcomes and indicators that enable us to track progress toward our ambitious goals and to identify areas of strength and areas in need of improvement. These key student outcome measures, based on our Theory of Student Impact (the Citizen Schools “shooting star”), are designed to assess whether our students, through participation in Citizen Schools, are on-track for a successful future.
The results are in from our 2010-2011 school year! Here are a few highlights from an exciting school year in which we launched a national expanded learning time (ELT) pilot with ten school partners across the country and continued to lead strong voluntary after-school (OST) programs at over 20 additional campuses.
The highlights include:
• An average student enrollment of nearly 4,000 students. We achieved our retention and enrollment targets and saw a 91% average attendance rate for retained students, compared to attendance of 50% or lower at typical extended day programs for middle grade students.
• We are seeing strong gains in student academic performance. Our students are reversing the common "middle school slide" in which grades typically decline in these years, with almost 70% maintaining an A/B grade or improving a lower grade in math and English.
• We met or exceeded our targets for student growth in oral communication, leadership, and students’ belief in the “education-to-success” connection.
• With standardized test score data now collected from five ELT schools over the last four years, we are seeing average annual gains in proficiency of 9 percentage points in math and seven points in English, positioning us to show successful school turnaround and erase or reverse achievement gaps in three to five years. By contrast, of all the schools where we are implementing ELT, in the five years prior to adopting the ELT model proficiency rates on average went down 1 point per year in English and up one point per year in math.
• We received high satisfaction rates from several of our key stakeholder groups, including particularly high satisfaction rates from our partner principals and teachers, students’ families, and our Citizen Teachers.
At our ELT schools, we saw some outstanding results in the first year. Although some of the data is still coming in, we’ve recorded high attendance rates, student success in maintaining high grades and improving poor grades, and improved 21st century skills. While not yet available for every school, current data suggests strong gains on student engagement and achievement measures that are critical to our students, as well as to our school and district partners. Orchard Gardens K-8 School in Boston, for instance, has reported declines in chronic absenteeism and school suspensions, along with increased family engagement. In addition, interim assessments taken throughout the school year indicate that Orchard Gardens students participating in ELT are predicted to achieve substantial gains on the 2011 Massachusetts state standardized assessment tests in Math and English Language Arts.
Similarly, at Jane Long Middle School in Houston, another ELT school partner, results from the state’s standardized test show the achievement gap in both math and English Language Arts closing with student gains in passing rates and a significantly higher percentage of students reaching the “commended” level that demonstrates whether students are learning at a pace that will prepare them for success in college and careers.
This fall, Citizen Schools will publish a white paper that serves as an overview of our most recent ELT partnership work with schools across the country. Stay tuned for more on ELT results in that report.