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Edgemoor Quarterly Report - Winter 2008

What NAEP Is Really Telling Us About Charter Performance

National Alliance

Last October, charter supporters received some good news upon the release of the 2005 National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP), otherwise known as “The Nation’s Report Card.” Since the report received scant media attention (reporters still seem to be consulting the less impressive 2003 NAEP data), let’s note the main points:
  • According to the 2005 NAEP, 4th-graders attending public charter schools were making noteworthy strides, pulling even with kids in other public schools.
  • The improvements were particularly strong in reading, with charter students gaining at a faster rate than students in traditional public schools since 2003.
  • These reading gains held for African-American, Latino, and low-income charter students. Latino gains were so strong that Latino charter 4th-graders opened a 10-point gap over similar students in other public schools.
  • While the 2005 NAEP offered generally good news for 4th graders, it found less-robust performance for 8th graders. There, charter students trailed other public school students in math and reading. Unfortunately, no trend analyses can be done because the sample size of 8th-graders in the 2003 NAEP was too small to generate reliable results.