NCPA - National Center for Policy Analysis


June 7, 2005

California's classroom-based charter schools were 33 percent more likely to meet student performance goals in 2004 than were regular public schools, according to a report released by EdSource.

Researchers also found that nonclassroom-based charter schools (which include independent study and home school support programs) performed significantly worse than classroom-based charter schools and slightly worse than noncharters.

Other key findings:

  • Classroom-based charters significantly outperformed regular public schools and non-classroom based charters; among schools with data available, 64 percent of classroom-based charter schools met their performance targets in 2004, compared to 48 percent of noncharters, and 44 percent of nonclassroom-based charters.
  • Charter schools outperformed at all grade levels; charter elementary schools outperformed noncharters 57 percent to 46 percent; charter middle schools outperformed noncharters 81 percent to 54 percent; and charter high schools outperformed noncharters 58 percent to 49 percent.
  • Surprisingly, charter school age did not significantly affect performance; 59 percent of established charter schools (defined as charters more than two years old) met their improvement targets, compared to 61 percent of new charter schools.
  • Charter school origin did not significantly affect performance; all charter schools are either "conversion" schools (those that had previously operated as traditional public schools) or "start-ups" (schools that operated as charters since their creation) - 61 percent of conversion charters met their performance targets compared to 59 percent of start-ups.

Overall, charter schools are working successfully throughout California, and generally, charters using a classroom-based model are working best of all, says Brian Edwards, Senior Policy Analyst at EdSource and co-author of the report.

Source: "How are California's Charter Schools Performing?" EdSource, May 25, 2005.


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