Report: Charter Schools Saw Higher Ratio of Proficiency on State Tests

The National Alliance for Public Charter Schools has found in a new report that, in school districts where at least 30 percent of students were enrolled in charter schools, nearly all had a higher percentage of students who scored proficient on state tests than their counterparts in traditional public schools.

The report looked at data from the 2014-2015 school year. In 14 of the 16 districts with available proficiency data, students at charter schools did better on state tests than students at non-charter public schools.

For example, in Detroit, charter school students represented 50 percent of all test takers but 61 percent of all proficient test takers in 2014-2015.

In Kansas City, MO, charter school students represented 47 percent of all test takers but 56 of all proficient test takers.

In Camden, NJ, charter school students represented 31 percent of all test takers but 69 percent of all proficient test takers.

The findings run counter to recent reports that children in charter schools are performing worse on tests than their traditional public school counterparts.

The NAPCS report did not make distinctions between virtual or online charter schools and their brick-and-mortar counterparts. There have been many reports that students at online or virtual charter schools are performing worse on tests than those at conventional public charter schools. In Ohio, which has one of the highest virtual charter school populations in the country, the test results have been distressing. A study by the Thomas B. Fordham Institute determined that “Ohio’s e-school students are not achieving at the same level as their peers in brick-and-mortar district schools.”

The NAPCS report also finds that the Los Angeles Unified School District has the highest number of charter school students with 156,040. New York City comes in second with 93,610.

The report provides comprehensive data for American charter schools in many other categories. For the full report, visit the NAPCS website.

About the Author

Richard Chang is associate editor of THE Journal. He can be reached at [email protected].