UCLA study finds promising academic trends at new Watts-area charter high school
By UCLA Newsroom May 14, 2012 Category: Research
Students at historically low-performing Locke High School in South Los Angeles, which recently was transformed into five smaller charter schools, are now performing better than their traditional-school peers in a number of key academic areas, according to a multi-year study conducted by the National Center for Research on Evaluation, Standards, and Student Testing at UCLA (CRESST).
CRESST's evaluation, funded by the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, looked at two groups of ninth graders who started in 2007 and 2008 — just after the charter-school group Green Dot Public Schools assumed operational control of Locke from the Los Angeles Unified School district and initiated a series of major curriculum and faculty changes. The UCLA researchers followed the students for three years.
The study found that the Green Dot Locke students were more likely to stay in school, to take and pass important college preparatory classes, and to score higher on the state high school exit exam on their first attempt than students at demographically similar high schools in the LAUSD.
The study authors called the transformation of Locke "an impressive success story" and found that the charter had achieved "consistent, positive effects on a range of student outcomes." The UCLA CRESST evaluation is ongoing.