At Success Academy, students’ grades are hung in hallways so that every member of the classroom knows how they stack up against one another, the New York Times reportedthis week. And if a student is below grade level, their name is listed in the “red zone” on the charts.
“But sometimes when people don’t get the best score, they seem to feel, like, really down on themselves. And when effort academy and detention and stuff like that is introduced one gets — me personally — really angry and upset,” a sixth grader named Maliha said in reference to test scores.
“Effort academy” is a detention for Success students who don’t try hard enough.
At Success Academy, the largest charter school network in New York City, expectations are extremely high and it shows. Students in the Success Academy far out-perform students in traditional public schools (TPS) in New York City.
Last year, 29% of students in reading and 35% in maths passed state tests in TPS, compared to 64% in reading and 94% in maths as Success.
But this achievement comes at a price. High expectations are maintained through the use of non-traditional tactics that might be perceived as public shaming.
At Success schools, individual student achievement levels are public knowledge around the classroom. This is in stark contrast to the typical thinking in schools that test scores and student achievement is private.
But administrators at Success Academy claim that high expectations and holding all students accountable for success is exactly what sets them apart from TPS and allows them to achieve such high student achievement.
“That is part of our culture — not having kids getting away with just not trying,” Eva Moskowitz, CEO of Success Academy, told the Times.
We reached out to Success Academy for comment, and will update this post if we hear back.
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