Gary Rubinstein has been tracking the progress of Eva Moskowitz’s Success Academy charter chain. They get very high test scores. They have small percentages of students with disabilities (only the mildest disabilities allowed) and students who are English language learners. They have high attrition rates. They have high suspension rates, even for children of 5 and 6. But the hedge fund managers love the schools because results are all that matter, not how they are obtained.


So Gary decided to find out how SA’s high school students performed on the state Regents exams.


That turned out to be a challenging quest.


Gary writes:


Reformers are all about ‘outcomes’ and that’s why they love Success Academy charter schools. Year after year Success Academy students outperform the rest of the state on the 3-8 ELA and math tests.


For sure if there was a hospital out there that was claiming to have the ability to cure Cancer or something like that, there would be all kinds of independent investigations and different tests to see if their claims were for real. But when it comes to education, we don’t see this so much.


The oldest Success Academy students are now in 10th grade. They have had two different cohorts of 8th graders take the specialized high school test for admission into one of the 8 specialized New York City high schools. Amazingly, none of those students made it into any of the specialized schools. That is pretty unusual that a group of students does so well on one standardized test but does so poorly on another. Aside from knowing that none of their 8th graders made the cut score on that test, there are no other details about their specific scores.


But there are other tests those students have taken, namely the New York State Regents exams. Most advanced students take the Algebra I test in 8th grade and then various Regents in 9th grade, maybe Geometry and also a few others like Living Environment, Earth Science, and Global History.


I had not heard about how they fared on the Regents exams for the past two years so I went over to the revamped New York State data site. I went to the page for the school, Success Academy Harlem I, but could not locate the Regent scores. I did take notice of their enrollment by grade, however.


The first Success Academy cohort began as kindergarteners in 2006-2007 ago with 83 kindergarteners and 73 first graders. That group of 73 first graders had been whittled down to 26 ninth graders last year and who knows how many of those 26 are now tenth graders this year. So they have lost about 2/3 of them so far so we’d expect the Success survivors to be pretty strong academically.


So how did the SA students fare on the Regents exams?


I won’t give you the answer. To learn more about Gary’s search for the SA high school students’ performance on the New York Regents exams, read his post.