Growth of Student Achievement in Public and Charter Schools

  • Research Project

What We Do

This six-year research project examines the effectiveness of regular public and charter schools. The study will compare growth in student achievement in regular public schools and charter schools that are implementing the Core Knowledge (CK) elementary school curriculum.

Direct measures of student achievement collected at 1st grade and 3rd grade include reading, language comprehension, oral vocabulary; plus test scores in math, social studies, science, and writing. The study includes multi-method assessments of fidelity to the CK curriculum and will also compare the costs and cost-effectiveness of regular public and CK charter schools. This study will provide a more complete understanding of how schools implementing CK differ from regular public schools, and will inform whether and why CK charter schools impact or fail to impact student achievement.


  • White, T. G., Grissmer, D. W., Altenhofen, S., & Larson, J. (2013, September). Lessons Learned in Conducting a Lottery-Based Study of Core Knowledge Charter Schools. Poster presented at the Society for Research on Educational Effectiveness (SREE) conference, Washington, DC, USA.
  • Altenhofen, S., Berends, M., & White, T. G. (in preparation). Parents Who Apply to Charter Schools: Pre-Lottery Influences on School Choice. 
  • Murrah, W. M., Grissmer, D. W., Ko, H., Player, D., & Cabell, S. (in preparation). Early Achievement Impacts of Core Knowledge Charter Schools on Early Comprehension and General Knowledge through 1st grade.
  • O’Brien, R., Player, D., & Grissmer, D. W. (in preparation). Seeking Valid Cost Effectiveness Comparisons Between Core Knowledge Charter and Public Schools: Can Substantial Methodological and Data Access Issues be Addressed?

Related Lab

  • Research Lab

Foundations of Cognitive Learning Lab

The FOCAL Lab studies the cognitive processes that underpin learning throughout the school years. The cognitive foundations that are central to our studies include motivation, executive function and self-regulation, sensorimotor and visuospatial processing, phonological skills, and general knowledge of the world. 

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