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City Study 2019: Baton Rouge - Summary of Findings

This summary highlights major findings about the academic performance of students in public K-12 schools in Baton Rouge. Performance is measured by one-year learning gains or growth students made from one school year to the next. We benchmark the growth of Baton Rouge students against the state average growth and then compare the progress of charter school students with that of similar TPS students within Baton Rouge, accounting for student characteristics.1

Overall: The learning gains of students in Baton Rouge were similar to the state average gains in the 2014-15, 2015-16, and 2016-17 school years in both reading and math.

Sector: Baton Rouge charter school students posted significantly weaker gains in the 2014-15 school year and caught up with the state average in 2015-16 and 2016-17 for both reading and math. Students in Baton Rouge magnet schools outperformed the state average in 2014-15 and 2015-16 and grew similarly to the state average in 2016-17 in reading. Magnet students performed similarly to the state average in math during all three growth periods. Baton Rouge students in non-magnet TPS experienced growth similar to the state average in 2014-15 and 2015-16 and lagged behind the state average in 2016-17 in reading. Non-magnet TPS students in the city also experienced math gains similar to the state average throughout the 2014-15, 2015-16, and 2016-17 school years.

Within Baton Rouge, students in charter schools posted significantly weaker growth in reading compared to students in non-magnet TPS in 2014-15 and the difference between these two sectors became insignificant in 2015-16 and 2016-17. In math, students in Baton Rouge charter schools experienced growth similar to students in non-magnet TPS in all three growth periods. Magnet school students posted stronger reading gains compared to non-magnet TPS students in 2014-15 and 2015-16 and performed similarly in reading compared to non-magnet TPS students in 2016-17. Magnet students posted math gains similar to non-magnet TPS students in 2014-15. In the following two years, magnet students posted stronger math gains compared to non-magnet TPS students.

A deeper dive into Baton Rouge student growth for the period ending in Spring 2017 reveals the following findings:

Charter School Type: Baton Rouge charter schools affiliated with a Charter Management Organization (CMO) grow similarly to the state average in both reading and math. Students attending Baton Rouge charter schools affiliated with Education Management Organizations (EMOs) exhibit similar reading growth and weaker math growth compared to the state average. Independently managed charter schools in Baton Rouge perform similarly to the state average in both subjects. Within the Baton Rouge charter sector, CMO-affiliated charters make significantly greater progress in reading than independently managed charter schools.

Race/Ethnicity: Black students in Baton Rouge, overall and particularly those in TPS, experience weaker learning gains in reading and similar learning gains in math compared to the state average black student. Black students in Baton Rouge charter schools perform similarly to the state average black student in both subjects. Hispanic students in the city overall post weaker growth in both subjects compared to the state average Hispanic student. Hispanic students in Baton Rouge charter schools experience weaker gains in reading and similar gains in math compared to the state average Hispanic student. A similar pattern is found for Hispanic students in Baton Rouge TPS relative to the state average Hispanic student. A comparison of sectors within Baton Rouge indicates no significant difference in progress associated with charter or TPS attendance for either black students or Hispanic students.

Poverty, ELL, and Special Education: Baton Rouge students living in poverty, overall and particularly those attending TPS, exhibit significantly weaker growth in reading and similar growth in math compared to the state average student in poverty. Baton Rouge students in poverty attending charter schools post similar gains in both subjects compared to the state average student in poverty. Cross-sector analysis within Baton Rouge shows no significant difference between the two sectors for students living in poverty.

Students with English Language Learner (ELL) designation, overall and particularly those in TPS, post significantly weaker growth in both subjects compared to the state average ELL student. ELL students in Baton Rouge charter schools post similar gains to the state average ELL student in both reading and math. Within Baton Rouge, ELL students attending charter schools outperform TPS ELL students in reading.

Students receiving special education services in Baton Rouge schools experience similar learning gains compared to the state average student in special education in both reading and math. Special education students in Baton Rouge charter schools show a similar pattern to that for special education students in Baton Rouge overall. Special education students in TPS post similar reading gains and stronger math gains compared to the state average special education student. Within the city, special education students in charter schools experience significantly weaker learning gains in math compared to special education students in Baton Rouge TPS.  

Gender: Both male and female students in Baton Rouge, regardless of their enrollment in charter schools or TPS, exhibit similar growth compared to the state average of the same gender. The pattern is found for both reading and math. Within the city, both male and female students in charter schools perform similarly to students of the same gender in TPS.  


1 There was flooding in Baton Rouge in August 2016. We do not model whether the flooding affected student performance in the 2016-17 school year or not in the analysis. However, as our findings show, Baton Rouge's growth relative to the state average in 2016-17 was similar to that in the previous two growth periods.