CREDO released an updated study of public charter schools in New York City today. The new study adds two years of performance data to the study released in 2010, and finds that on average public charter schools in NYC continue to outperform traditional public schools (TPS). The study presents data for all public charter schools in NYC, and then a separate set of analyses for public charter schools in Harlem where 23 percent of charter school students attend school. According to the study:
Based on the findings presented here, the typical student in New York City charter schools gains more learning in a year than his TPS counterparts, amounting to one month of additional gains in reading and five months in math. The learning advantage in Harlem equates to less than a full month of additional learning in reading but an additional seven months of progress in math.
The research on the performance of charter schools by CREDO has been on a roll of late, with a new and largely positive study being released nearly every month. These latest findings for NYC are consistent with positive overall results reported in Indiana, New Jersey, Michigan, and for charter school management organizations.
The figure below presents math and reading results from the NYC study for some of the relevant school breakouts. In general, the effect sizes for math are larger than effect sizes for reading in each of the categories. Compared with traditional public schools, students in public charter schools experience larger effect sizes in nearly every category, except for reading in the first year of a charter school and charter schools with multi-level grade configurations.
Source: CREDO. (2013). Charter school performance in New York City. Stanford, CA: Author.
While the overall results in NYC are promising, the study found that the distribution of public charter schools that perform better than traditional public schools looks better in math than in reading, as demonstrated in the figure below. Over 60 percent of NYC charter schools perform significantly better in math than matched traditional public schools, whereas only 20 percent of charter schools perform better in reading. Over 50 percent of charter schools perform as well as traditional public schools in reading, but there is room for improvement in these schools.