Analysis by American Federation of Teachers Incomplete: Charter School Students Show Higher Achievement Growth

Posted on August 18, 2004 | Type: Press Release
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PHOENIX-An analysis released yesterday by the American Federation of Teachers (AFT) concludes that charter school student achievement is lagging.  The AFT stated that their analysis "shows that charter school students mostly underperform and sometimes score about as well as regular public school students." However, that conclusion is based on a limited one-year snapshot of test scores.

A recent Goldwater Institute study examined the SAT-9 Reading test scores of more than 60,000 students in Arizona over a three-year-period and found that charter school students initially enter school with lower test scores than their traditional public school counterparts, but their annual achievement growth is roughly 3 points higher than their non-charter peers.
Goldwater education analyst Vicki Murray noted, "To accurately assess charter school performance, we have to consider achievement over time.  Longitudinal analysis shows that charter school students tend to start out behind, but quickly catch up to, and even surpass, their traditional school peers."

The Goldwater Institute conducts an annual review of charter school student achievement. The next report will be published in spring 2005.

The study, Comparison of Traditional Public Schools and Charter Schools on Retention, School Switching, and Achievement Growth, is available online here.

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