Latest CREDO Study Identifies Strengths in Los Angeles Charter Schools
Our 2011 meta-analysis of the effect of charter schools on student achievement is discussed in this Education Week article on CREDO's new study of L.A. charter schools.
Excerpt from Holly Yettick's article:
University of California San Diego economists Julian Betts and Y. Emily Tang conducted a meta-analysis of 31 experimental and/or longitudinal studies that examined reading and 33 that examined math. These studies examined achievement in elementary schools, middle schools, or both. Although results varied by grade span, the authors found no overall differences between the reading achievement rates of charter schools and regular public schools. Charter schools had a slight advantage in math. Differences were not "statistically meaningful" for high school reading or math.
Betts and Tang also found that charter schools obtained better results in urban areas and with students of color. The enrollment of Los Angeles Unified is 75 percent Hispanic. Though under-represented, Hispanics still comprise the majority of students in charter schools (58 percent), according to the Stanford study. The study found especially strong results for low-income Hispanics, who made bigger gains in both reading and math than their low-income, Hispanic peers in regular public schools. These gains also outpaced those of the overall population of charter school students. When the results of lower and higher income Hispanics were combined, their growth rates were on par with those of the overall charter school population.
Betts and Tang, whose study was published in 2011 by the Center on Reinventing Public Education at the University of Washington, found evidence not only of student-based differences but also of differences based upon the type of organization that managed the school. For instance, students in middle schools operated by one particular charter-management organization (the Knowledge is Power Program or KIPP) performed especially well.