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City Study 2019: San Antonio - Summary of Findings

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

Overall: Students in San Antonio posted significantly weaker learning gains compared to the state average gains in both reading and math in the 2014-15, 2015-16, and 2016-17 school years.

Sector: San Antonio charter school students consistently made gains similar to the state average in reading in the 2014-15, 2015-16, and 2016-17 school years. Students in San Antonio magnet schools experienced weaker reading growth compared to the state average in all three growth periods. Students attending San Antonio non-magnet TPS also significantly underperformed compared to the state average in reading throughout all three growth periods. In math, students in San Antonio charter schools exhibited growth similar to the state average in 2014-15 and significantly weaker growth in the following two years. Both the magnet and non-magnet TPS in San Antonio underperformed the state average in math in all three growth periods. 

Cross-sector comparisons within San Antonio show that compared to TPS, charter schools made larger reading gains in the 2015-16 and 2016-17 school years. Students in San Antonio magnet schools posted weaker reading gains in 2014-15 and 2016-17 compared to students in San Antonio non-magnet TPS. In math, San Antonio magnet school students posted significantly weaker growth compared to San Antonio non-magnet TPS students during all three growth periods.

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

Charter School Type: Students attending San Antonio charters affiliated with a Charter Management Organization (CMO) experience growth similar to the state average in both reading and math. Students in San Antonio charter schools affiliated with an Education Management Organization (EMO) exhibit stronger growth in reading and similar gains in math compared to the state average. San Antonio independent charter school students perform similarly to the state average in reading and underperform compared to the state average in math. Within the San Antonio charter sector, students attending EMO charters post stronger reading gains compared to students attending independent charters.

Race/Ethnicity: Black students in San Antonio post similar gains in reading and weaker gains in math compared to the state average Black student. Black students in San Antonio charter schools experience growth similar to the state average black student in both reading and math, while San Antonio TPS Black students exhibit significantly weaker gains in both subjects compared to the state average Black student. Within the city, Black students in charter schools post similar growth in reading and significantly stronger growth in math compared to Black students in TPS.

Hispanic students in San Antonio, particularly those attending TPS, exhibit weaker growth in both reading and math compared to the state average Hispanic student. Hispanic charter students post similar gains in reading and weaker gains in math compared to the state average Hispanic student. Cross-sector comparisons reveal that Hispanic students in charter schools outperform Hispanic students in TPS in both subjects.

Poverty, ELL, and Special Education:  San Antonio students in poverty post weaker gains compared to the state average student in poverty in both reading and math. This pattern holds true particularly for students in poverty attending TPS. Students in poverty attending charter schools perform similarly in reading and underperform in math compared to the state average student in poverty. Within San Antonio, charter school students in poverty post significantly stronger gains in both reading and math compared to TPS students in poverty.

San Antonio students with English Language Learner (ELL) designation, overall and particularly those attending TPS, exhibit weaker growth compared to the state average ELL student in both reading and math. San Antonio charter school ELL students experience similar gains in both subjects compared to the state average ELL student. Within the city, ELL students in charter schools post stronger growth in reading compared to ELL students in TPS.

San Antonio students receiving special education services post weaker gains in both subjects compared to the state average special education student. Special education students in San Antonio TPS mirror the pattern. Special education students in San Antonio charter schools experience growth similar to the state average special education student in both reading and math. Cross-sector comparisons within the city reveal no significant difference in the performance of special education students.

Gender: Students in San Antonio, overall and particularly students attending TPS, exhibit weaker growth in both reading and math when compared to the state average student of the same gender. Female students in San Antonio charter schools post similar reading gains and weaker math gains compared to the state average female student. Male students in San Antonio charter schools do not differ in performance compared to the state average male student in either reading or math. Within San Antonio, female charter students post significantly greater reading gains and similar math gains compared to female TPS students. Male students in San Antonio charters exhibit significantly stronger growth in both subjects compared to male students in San Antonio TPS.