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City Study 2019: Kansas City, Missouri - Summary of Findings

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

Overall: Students in Kansas City posted similar learning gains to the state average gains in both English Language Arts (ELA) and math in the 2014-15, 2015-16, and 2016-17 school years.

Sector: Kansas City charter school students grew similarly in the 2014-15 school year and made greater gains in 2015-16 and 2016-17 in ELA compared to the state average. The progress in math of charter school students was similar to the state average in all three growth periods. Kansas City magnet school students were on par with the state average in 2014-15 and 2015-16 and outperformed the state average in 2016-17 in ELA.1 Their learning gains in math did not differ from the state average in any of the three growth periods. Students attending non-magnet TPS in Kansas City lagged behind the state average in 2014-15 and caught up in the following two years in both ELA and math.

Cross-sector comparisons within Kansas City show that both charter schools and magnet schools outgrew non-magnet TPS in ELA in all three growth periods. In math, charter schools made larger gains in 2015-16 and magnet schools exhibited stronger growth in 2014-15 than non-magnet TPS.

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

Charter School Type: Kansas City charter schools affiliated with a Charter Management Organization (CMO) grow similarly to the state average in ELA and underperform the state average in math. Students attending Kansas City charter schools affiliated with an Education Management Organization (EMO) exhibit stronger growth in ELA and similar gains in math than the state average. Kansas City independent charter schools outgrow the state average in ELA and perform similarly in math. Within the Kansas City charter sector, CMO-affiliated charters make significantly less progress in math than independent charters.

Race/Ethnicity: Kansas City black students overall perform similarly to the state average of black students in both ELA and math. Black students attending charter schools in the city make stronger growth in ELA and similar gains in math compared to the state average of black students and to Kansas TPS black students. Kansas City Hispanic students in both charter schools and TPS post growth similar to the state average of Hispanic students in both subjects. Their learning gains in either subject do not differ by sector.

Poverty, ELL, and Special Education: Compared to the state average of students living in poverty, Kansas City students in poverty overall make similar growth in both ELA and math, while Kansas City students in poverty attending charter schools make greater progress in ELA. English Language Learners (ELLs) in Kansas City, regardless of the sector of enrollment, grow similarly in both ELA and math compared to the state average of ELL students. Kansas City students receiving special education services overall do not differ from the state average of special education students in either subject. Disaggregation shows that special education students from charter schools in the city make greater progress in ELA and those enrolled in TPS post weaker learning gains in math than the state average of special education students. Within Kansas City, the learning gains of Kansas City students living in poverty and ELL students do not differ significantly by the sector of the schools they attend. However, special education students enrolled in charter schools post stronger growth than TPS special education students in both subjects.

Gender: Female students in Kansas City perform similarly to statewide female students in both ELA and math. However, female students in Kansas City charter schools make significantly greater learning gains in ELA than female students in the state. Male students in Kansas City, overall and particularly those attending charter schools, exhibit stronger growth in ELA and similar progress in math compared to male students in the state. Within Kansas City, the learning gains for either male or female students do not differ significantly by the school sector in which they are enrolled. This pattern holds true for both subjects.

1 Magnet schools are also called signature schools in Kansas City.