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CREDO Releases New National Public Charter Schools Study

Today CREDO released an update to its 2009 study of public charter schools in 16 states. The 2013 study includes charter schools in 27 states through the 2010-2011 school year, covering 95 percent of students attending charter schools across the country. Overall, the 2013 CREDO study found that students in public charter schools are outperforming their traditional public school peers in reading, adding an average seven days of learning per year, and performing as well as students in traditional public schools in math. The 2013 CREDO study compared the performance of public charter schools with traditional public schools in their local markets and found that the percentage of charter schools outperforming traditional public schools grew from 17 percent in 2009 to 29 percent in 2013. Moreover, the percentage of charter schools that underperformed traditional public schools dropped from 39 percent in 2009 to 31 percent in 2013. The distribution shows a positive growth in the percentage of schools that perform better or the same as traditional public schools in from 63 percent in 2009 to 69 percent in 2013. The percent of charter schools that perform as well or better than traditional public schools in reading was 81 percent (CREDO did not report the quality growth curve for reading in the 2009 study). CREDO table         Source: CREDO The 2013 study showed positive results in math and reading for many subgroups, including Black students, students in poverty, English Language Learners (ELL), and students in Special Education (see table below). Particularly large was the impact of attending charter schools for Hispanic students who were also categorized as ELL. For ELL Hispanic students, attending a charter school resulted in 50 additional days of learning in reading and 43 additional days of learning in math.
Reading Math
Standard Deviations Days of Learning Standard Deviations Days of Learning
Overall 0.01** 7 -0.005 0
Black 0.02** 14 0.02** 14
Poverty 0.04** 29 0.05** 36
Hispanic 0.00 0 -0.01 0
Poverty 0.02** 14 0.03** 22
ELL 0.07** 50 0.06** 43
White -0.02** -14 -0.07** -50
Asian -0.01 0 -0.04* -29
Poverty 0.02** 14 0.03** 22
ELL 0.05** 36 0.05** 36
Special Education 0.01 0 0.02** 14
Grade Levels
Elementary 0.03** 22 0.02** 14
Middle 0.04** 29 0.05** 36
High 0.00 0 0.00 0
Multi-Level -0.02** 14 -0.07** -50
CMO 0.01 0 0.00 0
Non-CMO 0.01** 7 -0.01 0
Years in Charter
1 Year -0.06** -43 -0.08** -58
2 Years 0.03** 22 0.02** 14
3 Years 0.06** 43 0.03** 22
4+ Years 0.07** 50 0.06** 43
Source: CREDO   The 2013 CREDO results are consistent with an overall trend among more recent high quality charter school studies that show a positive impact on student performance (see here and here). The positive trends in student performance reflect a strong focus on quality and accountability in the charter sector, but there is more work to be done to ensure that all public charter schools provide great learning opportunities for students.