Ch. 4 - Improving State and Local Assessments of Charter School Performance (HFR '06)

December 2006

This year's edition of Hopes, Fears, & Reality explores the broad realities of the present-day charter school movement. In this chapter, Paul Hill and Julian Betts show how states can get an honest picture of how charter schools are performing under their laws. State legislatures set the rules under which charter schools operate and decide how many charter schools can exist. State education agencies and lawmakers with oversight responsibilities must be able to ferret out the most valid and pertinent information about charter school performance. Yet many state officials are confused about how to best assess charter schools, particularly in light of the ongoing national debate about the impact of charter schools on academic achievement. Drawing from a recent white paper on charter school student achievement, Hill and Betts show that states can indeed track critical charter school data and develop more rigorous state evaluations.