Charter schools were developed, in part, to serve as an R&D engine for traditional public schools, resulting in a wide variety of school strategies and outcomes. In this paper, the authors collect unparalleled data on the inner-workings of 35 charter schools and correlate these data with credible estimates of each school's effectiveness.
They find that traditionally collected input measures -- class size, per pupil expenditure, the fraction of teachers with no certification, and the fraction of teachers with an advanced degree -- are not correlated with school effectiveness.
In stark contrast, they show that an index of five policies suggested by over forty years of qualitative research -- frequent teacher feedback, the use of data to guide instruction, high-dosage tutoring, increased instructional time, and high expectations -- explains approximately 50 percent of the variation in school effectiveness. Their results are robust to controls for three alternative theories of schooling: a model emphasizing the provision of wrap-around services, a model focused on teacher selection and retention, and the "No Excuses'' model of education.
They conclude by showing that their index provides similar results in a separate sample of charter schools.
Interesting discussion of this study here.