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Comprehensive School Reform / Education Service Providers (CSRQ)

Education service providers (ESPs), or education management organizations, are for-profit or non-profit organizations that contract with new or existing public, charter, or private schools to help them implement comprehensive reforms. Which of these ESPs have evidence that they help children in elementary and secondary school of positive effects on achievement? To find out, this review summarizes evidence on student achievement outcomes in schools managed by ESPs.

Education service providers offer to schools and districts services such as the following:

  • Curriculum design
  • Professional development
  • Student assessments
  • Financial and operational management
  • Facilities management
  • Human resources management

According to a survey cited in the the Comprehensive School Reform Quality (CSRQ) report, in 2004-2005 there were 59 for-profit ESPs managing 535 schools in 24 states and the District of Columbia, of which 86% were charter schools. The CSRQ report reviews research on the seven largest of these, which collectively serve 350 schools.

Full Report
Comprehensive School Reform Quality Center. American Institutes for Research. (2006, April). CSRQ Center
report on education service providers.


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Full Report  (PDF, 1.92MB)
Educator's Summary  (PDF, 161 KB)


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