FAQs About our Renaissance 2010 Analysis

What is this analysis?
This is a point-in-time snapshot of how well the Renaissance 2010 schools perform on state tests compared to their nearby neighborhood schools.

Why did you compare Renaissance 2010 to neighborhood schools?
The goal of Renaissance 2010 was to create high-quality school options in neighborhoods where there was a shortage of them. Chicago Public Schools identified high-need neighborhoods where it wanted Renaissance 2010 schools. Comparing the Renaissance 2010 schools to nearby neighborhood schools helps tell us whether we have added a higher performing school option to the neighborhood.

What scores did you use for this analysis?
We used individual student scale scores we obtained through a public records request from the Illinois State Board of Education and, in the case of individual charter school campuses, from Chicago Public Schools.

Student scale scores are raw scores that have been converted to a common scale that allows for numerical comparison between students and across years. They are much more precise than the way test scores are commonly presented, as a “percent of students who meet standards.”

How many comparisons did you do, and what are you counting as a comparison?
We looked at 2,495 points of comparison— 2,204 for elementary schools and 291 for high schools.

Example of a comparison: For the Renaissance 2010 School “Amandla,” 5th grade math at Banneker school is a single point of comparison.

How did you calculate the “percent of times the Renaissance 2010 school did better”?

We counted total number of comparison points in which the Renaissance 2010 school did better and divided by total number of comparisons for that school. We designated any comparison in which the two schools scored within 2 scale score points of each other a “tie.”

To calculate overall totals for elementary we took the total number of times elementary Renaissance 2010 schools did better (1,271) and divided by the total number of comparisons for elementary schools (2,204). For high schools the numbers were 188/291.

How did you choose the comparison schools?
We hand-selected comparison schools. For the most part, comparison schools fall within a 1.5 mile radius for elementary schools, further for high schools. We did not cross expressways and tried to avoid crossing other neighborhood boundaries students would not typically cross. The majority of comparisons will be between demographically similar schools. We tried to find four comparison schools for each elementary Renaissance 2010 school, three for high schools.

Why didn’t you include all the Renaissance 2010 schools?
We included all Renaissance 2010 schools for which there is 2010 ISAT or PSAE test score data.

We compared all grades tested at the Renaissance 2010 schools.

Why do the elementary schools have so many more comparison points?
There are more grades tested, and there are more nearby schools to compare to.

Did you compare the new schools to magnet schools, selective enrollment schools, or other charter schools?
No.

Why did you include magnet schools as Renaissance 2010 schools?
We included all Renaissance 2010 schools for which there is state test data.

Where can I see the actual student scale scores you used?
Check in the “EXTRAS” section below the main story. We have posted excel sheets there.