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Summaries of RCT Grants

Long-term follow-up of an RCT of Core Knowledge Charter Schools

This project is an extension of an existing RCT evaluation of CORE Knowledge Charter Schools in Denver, Colorado.

Grant Recipient: The Rector and Visitors of the University of Virginia

Term: 2017 –2020

Principal Investigator: David Grissmer, Ph. D., University of Virginia

Funding: $510,256

Summary: This project is an extension of an existing RCT evaluation of CORE Knowledge Charter Schools in Denver, Colorado. Core Knowledge schools use an integrated curriculum for K-8 students that sets out, in a clear grade-by-grade sequence, the specific knowledge that students should gain in each grade, rather than simply providing teachers with broad goals and objectives about what topics to cover. The Core Knowledge curriculum is implemented in over 1500 schools across 41 states and the District of Columbia.

The existing RCT, funded by the Institute of Education Sciences, capitalized on kindergarten lotteries, which randomly allocated limited offers for admission in 14 lotteries over two years at nine oversubscribed CORE Knowledge schools. The total randomized sample was 1,796 students. At 3rd grade (i.e., four years after the lottery), lottery winners scored roughly 25-30% of a grade level higher in reading than lottery losers, and also scored higher in English. These effects remained substantial and statistically significant even after the researchers made conservative assumptions to adjust for potential bias due to sample attrition.

This grant will extend the evaluation by assessing effects on achievement in English, reading, writing, and math through 4th, 5th and 6th grade, and on achievement in the social sciences and science in 4th and 5th grade, using Colorado state test scores.

The study’s pre-specified analysis plan is linked here.

Grants

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