No Excuses Charter Schools: A Meta-Analysis of the Experimental Evidence on Student Achievement

48 Pages Posted: 28 Aug 2015 Last revised: 12 Feb 2019

See all articles by Albert Cheng

Albert Cheng

University of Arkansas - Department of Education Reform

Collin Hitt

University of Arkansas - Department of Education Reform

Brian Kisida

University of Missouri

Jonathan Mills

University of Arkansas - Department of Education Reform

Date Written: July 1, 2015

Abstract

While charter schools differ widely in philosophy and pedagogical views, the United States’s most famous urban charter schools typically use the No Excuses approach. Enrolling mainly poor and minority students, these schools feature high academic standards, strict disciplinary codes, extended instructional time, and targeted supports for low-performing students. The strenuous and regimented style is controversial amongst some scholars, but others contend that the No Excuses approach is needed to rapidly close the achievement gap. We conduct the first meta-analysis of the achievement impacts of No Excuses charter schools. Focusing on experimental studies, we find that No Excuses charter schools significantly improve math scores and reading scores. We estimate gains of 0.25 and 0.16 standard deviations on math and literacy achievement, respectively, as the effect of attending a No Excuses charter school for one year. Though the effect is large and meaningful, we offer some caveats to this finding and discuss policy implications for the United States as well as other countries.

Keywords: charter schools, academic achievement, urban schools

Suggested Citation

Cheng, Albert and Hitt, Collin and Kisida, Brian and Mills, Jonathan, No Excuses Charter Schools: A Meta-Analysis of the Experimental Evidence on Student Achievement (July 1, 2015). EDRE Working Paper No. 2014-11. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2652401 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.2652401

Albert Cheng (Contact Author)

University of Arkansas - Department of Education Reform ( email )

201 Graduate Education Building
Fayetteville, AR 72701
United States

Collin Hitt

University of Arkansas - Department of Education Reform ( email )

201 Graduate Education Building
Fayetteville, AR 72701
United States

Brian Kisida

University of Missouri ( email )

219 Professional Building
Columbia, MO 65201
United States

Jonathan Mills

University of Arkansas - Department of Education Reform ( email )

201 Graduate Education Building
Fayetteville, AR 72701
United States

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