"Better Research Needed on the Impact of Charter Schools"
Most studies of charter schools use unsophisticated methods and are flawed in ways that prevent researchers from accurately gauging the schools' impact on student achievement, a new review concludes.
And while researchers have options for collecting more accurate information about charter school performance, they also face obstacles along the way—some of them related to states' and schools' unwillingness to provide crucial data, the analysis finds.
The meta-analysis, published this month in the journal Science, estimates that about 75 percent of charter school studies do not meet rigorous research standards because they don't adequately account for the differences in academic background and academic histories of students attending charters, when comparing them with those attending traditional public schools.
It was written by Julian R. Betts, a professor of economics at the University of California, San Diego, and Richard C. Atkinson, a former president of the University of California system.
Vol. 31, Issue 18, Page 5Published in Print: January 25, 2012, as Charter Schools