Great Schools Can Change Lives: The Impact of the Harlem Children's Zone Promise Academy Charter Schools

New York City
Harlem Children's Zone
Promise Academy Charter School



We know that successful schools can raise test scores; however, do these gains in test scores directly translate into improved life outcomes for students in the short and long-term?


In 2010, the Ford Foundation awarded EdLabs a grant to investigate the first stage of this question: do successful charters affect short-term, non-academic outcomes?

We contracted with the Survey Research Center at the Institute for Social Research based out of the University of Michigan to help us compose a survey, track down and recruit participants, and conduct more than 400 interviews. The survey asked questions related to students’ peer networks, health behaviors, educational aspirations, and family relationships, as well as questions related to personality traits, such as self-esteem, grit and perseverance, and risk aversion.

Using Harlem Children Zone Promise Academy lottery results, we compared the outcomes of applicants who were admitted into the sixth grade classes in 2005 and 2006 with the outcomes of those who were not accepted. We combined these data with administrative data from the New York City Department of Education and the National Student Clearinghouse.


This analysis is ongoing.