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City Study 2019: Indianapolis - Summary of Findings

This summary highlights major findings about the academic performance of students in Indianapolis public K-12 schools. Performance is measured as one-year learning gains or growth students made from one school year to the next.

Overall: The reading growth of all Indianapolis students was on par with the state average in the year 2014-15, but was weaker than the state average in 2015-16 and 2016-17. Indianapolis students persistently posted weaker learning gains in math compared to the state average gains in the 2014-15, 2015-16, and 2016-17 school years.

Sector: Compared to the state during the period from 2014-15 to 2016-17, Indianapolis charter school students posted similar gains in both reading and math. Students attending Indianapolis TPS continued to exhibit weaker growth in both subjects. Indianapolis Innovation School students performed similarly to the state average in reading in both 2015-16 and 2016-17. In math, Indianapolis Innovation Schools students posted significantly weaker growth in 2015-16 and caught up to the state average in 2016-17. Furthermore, students in Indianapolis charter schools experienced stronger growth than Indianapolis TPS students in both subjects during the study period. Students in Indianapolis Innovation Schools grew similarly in both subjects compared to Indianapolis TPS students.

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

Charter School Type: Indianapolis charter schools affiliated with a Charter Management Organization (CMO) as well as independent charters perform similarly to the state average in both reading and math. Students attending charter schools affiliated with Education Management Organizations (EMO) exhibit stronger growth than the state average in both subjects.

Race/Ethnicity: Overall, Black students in Indianapolis post significantly weaker growth in both reading and math compared to the average statewide growth. Hispanic students in Indianapolis post similar growth in reading and weaker growth in math compared to the state average.

A comparison of sectors within Indianapolis indicates that black students enrolled in charter schools post significantly stronger growth than black students in TPS in both subjects. Hispanic students attending Indianapolis charter schools post stronger growth than TPS Hispanic students within the city.

Poverty, ELL, and Special Education: Students living in poverty, English Language Learners (ELLs), and students receiving special education services in Indianapolis make significantly less progress than the state average in both reading and math. Within Indianapolis, charter school students living in poverty exhibit stronger growth in both reading and math compared to TPS students in poverty. We also find stronger growth in both subjects for Indianapolis ELL students enrolled in charter schools than that for ELL students in Indianapolis TPS.

Gender: Gender comparisons indicate that both male and female students in Indianapolis make significantly smaller learning gains than the state average in math. Female students in Indianapolis post reading gains similar to the state average while male students in Indianapolis post weaker reading gains compared to the state average. For both genders within Indianapolis, students attending charter schools make significantly stronger growth than TPS students in both reading and math.