By Mike DeNardo

By Mike DeNardo


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PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — A new study says Philadelphia’s efforts to turn around its worst-performing schools are bearing fruit.

The first year of the “Renaissance schools” effort last year yielded improved student performance and attendance, according to a new study by the group Research For Action.

Six schools were turned over to charters, and seven others, called “promise academies,” were run by the district with extra resources.

“We found that across the board, student achievement at these schools improved at a significantly higher rate than did achievement at some similar schools that were not in the initiative,” notes RFA executive director Kate Shaw — 18 percent higher on standardized reading and math tests in the K-through-8 schools.

RFA found no significant improvement in the two Renaissance high schools: Vaux and University City.

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Read the Full RFA Study (.pdf format)
And the study points out that even with the significant gains, the 13 first-year Renaissance schools remain among the lowest performers in the district.

Shaw says that while it’s too early for the study to provide definitive direction for the Philadelphia School Reform Commisison, she hopes the SRC will find it useful in charting the future of the Renaissance effort.

Shaw says the study also found no evidence that the charter schools were shutting out low-perfoming students, as some have charged.


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