Standards and common assessments were introduced 15 years ago. KIPP took the expectations expressed by state tests seriously and made numerous process improvements to the old model of school. At the middle school I visited Monday, 100% of the Kipsters had passed the state math test.
This KIPP school gives uniform weekly quizzes in every state tested subject and relentlessly evaluates the data from every classroom and student. The school only hires new teachers, trains them on data-driven instruction, and expects hard work (e.g., to go along with their bonus plan, a sign in the principal’s office read, “New Incentive Plan: Work or Get Fired”)
This is the best of the batch-print model. Kids sit obediently in rows in classrooms of 25 students. One teacher per subject per grade yields direct accountability for results. Their homegrown curriculum is mostly worksheets. Quizzes are paper based. Scores are tabulated on a spreadsheet. No fancy learning management system at work here–they just figure out what the state wants, teach it and test it. They are fantastic executors–a critical innovation in a sector that is commonly sloppy and uneven in delivery.