New Study Shows Better Results For Public Charter School Students Compared To Students In Conventional Schools

Stanford University report took race, poverty level, English language learner and special education status into account

By JARRETT SKORUP | Jan. 15, 2013

A new study taking race, poverty and other areas into account when measuring performance shows that students in Michigan public charter schools do better academically than their conventional public school.charter growth

The students who took advantage of school choice had academic growth 82 percent above the state average in reading and 72 percent above the state average in math.

The report from Stanford University’s Center for Research on Education Outcomes (CREDO) followed more than 85,000 charter school students in 273 schools and took into account grade level, race/ethnicity, socioeconomic status, English language learner status, special education status, gender and prior test scores on state achievement tests.

Michigan public charter school students had larger learning gains than any other state that the organization has studied.

“These findings show that Michigan has set policies and practices for charter schools and their authorizers to produce consistent high quality across the state,” said Stanford University’s CREDO Director Margaret Raymond. “The findings are especially welcome for students in communities that face significant education challenges.”

The study showed that 35 percent of charter schools did better in reading gains than conventional schools and 42 percent made better gains in math. The majority of charter schools (63 percent and 52 percent, respectively) did about the same compared to conventional schools. Only 2 percent of charter schools did worse comparatively in reading gains and 6 percent in math.

It also showed that public charter schools are helping close the racial achievement gap: black and Hispanic students were significantly better performers in charter schools than in conventional schools when compared with their white counterparts — though all three races made large gains in charter schools. Low-income students also did better in charter schools compared to those in conventional schools.

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