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Report: City Year schools see big jumps in math, English scores

Craig Clough | June 10, 2015



Schools that took part in the national City Year program are more likely to see jumps in their students’ standardized math and English scores, according to a new report.

The program, which last year had 150 schools in 22 cities participate, was active in 25 LA Unified schools. (Check out the attached video from September, when LA Mayor Eric Garcetti and former LA Unified Superintendent John Deasy kicked off City Year in the district.)

City Year, which is part of the national organization, AmeriCorps, sends recent college graduates to work in schools in areas with high poverty rates. City Year workers mentor students who are struggling or at risk of dropping out through in-class tutoring and after school programs.

The new report by research firm Policy Studies Associates, titled “City Year’s Whole School Whole Child Model on Partner Schools’ Performance,” tracked the performance of students in grades 3 through 8 and high school in the 150 City Year schools, and compared them to the performance of students in 500 similar schools that did not participate in the program. The study spanned three academic years: 2011-12, 2012-13, and 2013-14.

City Year schools were about twice as likely as comparable schools to see improvements in language arts scores on standardized tests in each of the three study years of the study.  In math, City Year schools were also twice as likely in 2011-12 and three times as likely in 2012-13 to see improvements in math scores. The report also found evidence that City Year schools improved in math in 2013-14, but the result was not “statistically significant.”

“What was surprising was the findings were consistent across all the sites,” said Leslie M. Anderson, report co-author and the managing director of Policy Studies Associates, Inc., according to Education Week. “They’re working with a lot of schools, and there’s clearly variation in implementation, but the results are certainly promising and worthy of more study. It suggests there’s probably something going on in these City Year schools.”

In addition, three LA Unified schools — 99th Street Elementary School, 122nd Street Elementary School and Virgil Middle School — were on the report’s list of the top 20 “high performing” schools, meaning they had shown the most improvement on scores between the 2012-13 and 2013-14 school years.

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