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City Study 2019: Camden- Summary of Findings

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

Overall: Students in Camden posted weaker learning gains compared to the state average gains in reading throughout the 2014-15, 2015-16, and 2016-17 school years. In math, Camden students exhibited weaker growth than the state average in the 2014-15 school year and caught up in 2015-16 and 2016-17.

Sector: In both reading and math, Camden charter school students made stronger gains in 2014-15 and grew similarly in 2015-16 and 2016-17 compared to the state average. Students attending Camden TPS underperformed the state in reading in all three growth periods. In math, the growth of Camden TPS students was on par with the state average in 2015-16 and weaker than the state average in 2014-15 and 2016-17.  Camden Renaissance schools grew similarly to the state average in 2015-16 and outperformed the state in 2016-17 in reading. In math, Camden Renaissance schools made gains similar to the state average in both 2015-16 and 2016-17. Cross-sector comparisons within Camden show that compared to TPS, charter schools made greater gains in reading in 2014-15 and 2016-17 and stronger growth in math in 2014-15. The growth of Camden Renaissance schools is stronger than that of Camden TPS in both subjects in 2016-17.

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

Charter School Type: Camden charter schools affiliated with a charter network, a Charter Management Organization (CMO) or an Education Management Organization (EMO), grow similarly to the state average in both reading and math. Students attending Camden independent charter schools exhibit stronger growth in reading and similar gains in math. Within the Camden charter sector, the growth of network-affiliated charter schools does not differ from that of independent charter schools in either subject.

Race/Ethnicity: Camden black students, overall and particularly those attending TPS, make weaker growth in reading and perform similarly in math compared to the state average growth of black students. Black students attending Camden charter or Renaissance schools make progress similar to the state average of black students in both subjects.

Camden Hispanic students overall grow similarly in both reading and math relative to the average Hispanic students in the state. Camden Hispanic students enrolled in charter schools show the similar pattern. However, Hispanic students in Camden Renaissance schools outgrow the state average of Hispanic students in both subjects, while Camden TPS Hispanic students lag behind the average Hispanic student in the state in reading and make similar progress in math.

Comparisons of sectors within Camden indicate that black and Hispanic students at charter schools post significantly stronger growth in reading and similar gains in math compared to TPS students of the same race. Camden black and Hispanic students in Renaissance schools outperform TPS peers of the same race in both subjects.

Poverty, ELL, and Special Education: Compared to the state average of students living in poverty, Camden students living in poverty, overall and particularly those enrolled in charter schools, make similar learning gains in both reading and math. Students living in poverty in Camden Renaissance schools post stronger learning gains in reading and similar gains in math relative to the average student living in poverty in the state. Camden students in poverty from TPS grow less than the state average of students in poverty in both reading and math.  

English Language Learners (ELLs) in Camden grow similarly in reading and gain less in math compared to the state average of ELLs. Sector breakout analysis shows similar patterns for Camden charter ELLs. Relative to the average ELLs in the state, Camden Renaissance school ELLs demonstrate stronger learning gains in reading and similar progress in math, while Camden TPS ELLs make weaker growth in both subjects.

Camden students receiving special education services, overall and those attending charter schools in particular, perform similarly in both subjects compared to the state average of special education students. However, Camden special education students from Renaissance schools make greater progress in math and those attending TPS lag behind in reading in comparison with the average special education student in the state.

Cross-sector comparisons within Camden indicate that students living in poverty, ELLs, and special education students enrolled in charter schools post stronger growth in reading and similar progress in math relative to their TPS peers. Students living in poverty as well as ELLs attending Renaissance schools outperform their TPS peers in the same subgroup in both subjects. Renaissance School students receiving special education designations exhibit great learning gains in reading and similar gains in math compared to TPS special education students.

Gender: Overall, female students in Camden grow similarly in both reading and math compared to female students in the state. Camden charter and Renaissance School female students mirror the pattern while Camden TPS female students underperform female students in the state in both subjects. Comparisons within Camden demonstrate that charter and Renaissance school female students make significantly greater progress in both subjects than TPS female students.

Male students in Camden overall make weaker gains in reading and similar growth in math compared to the state average of male students. Sector breakout analyses reveal that relative to the average male student in the state, Camden charter male students register similar progress in both subject, Camden Renaissance school males make greater progress in reading, and Camden TPS male students post weaker growth in both subjects for. Within Camden, charter school male students exhibit greater gains in reading and similar growth in math than TPS male students, while Renaissance school male students outgrow their TPS male peers in both subjects.