2021 CITY STUDY
Summary of Findings
In 2021, CREDO at Stanford University completed an analysis of the performance of public schools in Fort Worth, Texas.1 This summary highlights the findings about the academic performance of students in public K-12 schools in Fort Worth. Performance is measured by one-year learning gains or growth students made from one school year to the next. We benchmark the growth of Fort Worth students against the state average academic and then compare the progress of charter school students with that of similar district school students within Fort Worth, accounting for student characteristics.
Students in Fort Worth showed similar trajectories of academic growth across reading and math: Compared to the state average performance, Fort Worth students made smaller learning gains in the 2015-16 growth period, stronger growth in 2016-17, and similar progress in 2017-18.2
Fort Worth charter schools showed similar reading growth in 2015-16 and 2017-18 and greater reading gains in 2016-17 relative to the state average. Charter schools in Fort Worth were on par with the state average in math throughout the three growth periods. In both reading and math, Fort Worth district schools exhibited weaker growth in 2015-16, greater progress in 2016-17, and similar gains in 2017-18 relative to the state average. Within Fort Worth, charter schools outperformed district schools in reading and grew similarly in math in 2015- 16; the two school sectors did not differ significantly from each other in either subject in 2016-17 and 2017-18.
A deeper dive into Fort Worth student growth for the period ending in Spring 2018 reveals the following findings:
Charter School Type:
Fort Worth charter schools affiliated with a Charter Management Organization (CMO) make progress similar to the state average in both reading and math.3
Black students in Fort Worth, overall and particularly those attending district schools, post weaker growth in reading and similar learning gains in math compared to the state average of black students. Fort Worth black students in charter schools grow similarly in both subjects compared to the average black student statewide. Hispanic students in Fort Worth, overall and by sector of schools in which they are enrolled, do not differ significantly from the average Hispanic student in the state in either reading or math growth.
Comparison of school sectors within Fort Worth indicate that both black and Hispanic student are on par with the average student in the same racial/ethnic group in the state; this pattern is found for both subjects.
Poverty, ELL, and Special Education:
Fort Worth students living in poverty, regardless of whether they learn in charter or district schools, make similar progress in both reading and math compared to the average student in poverty in the state. English Language Learners (Ells) in Fort Worth, as a whole and particularly those in district schools, outgrow the average ELL student statewide in reading and grow similarly in math. Fort Worth Ells in charter schools perform similarly in both subjects. Fort Worth students receiving special education services, regardless of the sector of their schools, exhibit similar learning gains in both subjects compared to the average special education student in the state. Comparisons of charter and district schools within Fort Worth reveal no significant differences in growth by school sector for students living in poverty, Ells, or special education students in either subject.
Both male and female students in Fort Worth, no matter whether they study in charter or district schools, make similar progress relative to the average student of the same gender in the state. The pattern holds true for both reading and math. Within Fort Worth, the learning gains of either gender do not differ significantly by the school sector which students attend; this parity is observed for both subjects.
1 The conclusions of this research do not necessarily reflect the opinions or official position of the Texas Education Agency, the Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board, the Texas Workforce Commission or the State ofTexas.
2 The Texas Education Agency changed the State of Texas Assessments of Academic Readiness (STAAR) from the school year
2015-16 to the school year 2016-17.
3 The other charter school type is independent charter schools. There are only two independent charter schools with student growth scores in Fort Worth during the span of this study; we redact the results for this type due to the small number of the schools.