A new report released last week by Stanford University’s Center for Research on Education Outcomes (CREDO) found that public charter schools in Los Angeles, which serve the largest number of students in the country, are outperforming traditional public schools. Following the methodology of CREDO’s 2013 National Charter School study, which found charter schools are outperforming their district peers across the country, the report translates the impact of attending a charter school into additional days of learning. This study finds that the typical student in a Los Angeles public charter school gains about 50 more days of learning in reading and an additional 79 days of learning in math.
Source: CREDO, pg. 37, http://credo.stanford.edu/pdfs/Los_Angeles_report_2014_FINAL_000.pdf.
The study also found public charter schools are greatly impacting Hispanic students living in poverty— with these students gaining an additional half year of learning in math by being enrolled in a charter school. Below are the positive study results by different demographic groups, grade levels, type of charter school, and years enrolled. In each of these cases, “additional days of learning” is compared to traditional public school students.
|Charter Student Characteristics||
Additional Days of Learning
|Black in Poverty||36||58|
|Hispanic in Poverty||58||115|
|Charter School Characteristics|
|Years of Charter Enrollment|
The report concludes with a strong endorsement of these results across student groups and over time: “…The typical student in a Los Angeles charter school gains more learning in a year than her [traditional public school] counterpart…These positive patterns emerge in a student’s first year of charter attendance and persist over time. Black and Hispanic students in poverty especially benefit from attendance at charter schools. A substantial share of Los Angeles charter schools appear to outpace [traditional public schools] in how well they support academic learning gains in their students in both reading and math.”
Nora Kern is senior manager of research at the National Alliance for Public Charter Schools.