Charter School Performance: What do We Know?

Sometimes charter schools do better than traditional schools for all students; sometimes they do better just for specific student populations.The National Alliance for Public Charter schools has the review, in its report, (PDF) “Charter school achievement: What we know, which is now in its fourth edition.

Here’s a quick look, from the group U.S. Charter Schools:

This analysis, the fourth edition of an extensive review of research on charter school achievement across the nation, incorporates 12 new studies published in the past year for a total of 70 comparative analyses of charter school and traditional public school performance. It shows that charters are generating strong growth in student achievement, in many cases outperforming traditional schools. Of the 70 studies, 39 look at change over time in student or school performance. Thirty of these studies find student academic gains in public charter schools are larger than those in traditional public schools (sometimes only for specific groups of students, such as at-risk students), and another five find comparable gains. The other 31 studies compare two groups of schools or students based on a “snapshot” of performance at a point in time. Nineteen of these studies show comparable, mixed or generally positive results for charter schools. 

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