Assessing charter schools | Arkansas Blog

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Assessing charter schools

Posted By on Wed, Oct 22, 2008 at 1:31 PM

The Southern Regional Education Board has completed a study aimed at assessing charter schools. It's worth a read for all interested in the topic.

Bottom line: Mixed bag. Some charters do better than public schools, some do worse. In states with the most charter schools -- Florida, Texas, North Carolina and Delaware --public schools did as well or better than charter schools as a whole in elementary and middle school grades. Results were better at charter high schools, but that could have been explained by student body populations, for example some tended to attract better students or those with better educated parents. One notable exception to the general trends: Texas charter schools showed comparative success in advancing at-risk kids in lower grades.

Two conclusions: 1) Older charter schools do better; 2) some students have initial difficulties adjusting to charter schools.

Key point: States should develop reliable ways to measure charter schools and students' annual progress. States should be measuring similarly situated groups of charter and regular public school students. States should attempt to learn, too, if charter methods are responsible for progress or whether other factors -- quality of student body, say --  are more important.

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