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 newconcludes.
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.
A version of this article appeared in the January 25, 2012 edition of Education Week as Charter Schools