Assessment

NAEP Reanalysis Finds Lag in Charter School Scores

August 22, 2006 | Corrected: February 22, 2019 2 min read
  • Save to favorites
  • Print

Corrected: This article presented data on student test scores incorrectly. The study found that 4th grade students in a nationally representative sample of charter schools scored 4.2 points behind students in regular public schools on the National Assessment of Educational Progress in reading, and 4.7 points behind regular public-school students in mathematics, when various student characteristics were considered. Those score differences were measured on the NAEP achievement scale of zero to 500.

A federal reanalysis of 2003 test-score data from the National Assessment for Educational Progress finds that charter schools trailed regular public schools that year in student achievement in both reading and mathematics.

The average reading score for the 150 charter schools examined was 5 percentage points lower than in a far larger pool of more than 6,700 regular public schools, according to the report released today by the National Center for Education Statistics, an arm of the U.S. Department of Education. In mathematics, the charters scored 6 percentage points lower. The report used data from the 2003 administration of the 4th grade NAEP, which included a special oversampling of charter schools to allow for comparisons between regular and charter public schools.

“A Closer Look at Charter Schools Using Hierarchical Linear Modeling” is available from the National Center for Education Statistics. Learn more about the NAEP pilot study on charter schools.

Many researchers and charter advocates urge great caution in using data from NAEP, the congressionally required testing program known as the nation’s report card, to examine charter schools. For one, they note that the data represent a snapshot at one point in time, with no consideration for students’ prior academic achievement.

Using a statistical technique called hierarchical linear modeling, the new report sought to go further than a controversial 2004 report from NCES by taking into account multiple student and school characteristics simultaneously. This approach, also used in a recent analysis comparing public and private schools, has faced considerable controversy, with critics questioning the reliability of some of the variables used.

After making those adjustments, the differences in average school scores remained lower for charters in math and reading, but the differences were reduced by about 1 percentage point.

Results Consistent

A key difference between the new report and the 2004 NCES report is that in this case the focus is on the average scores of schools, while the earlier analysis focused on student-level scores, said Henry I. Braun, a researcher at the Educational Testing Service who helped conduct the new analysis.

Mr. Braun said that overall, the findings of the new report are relatively consistent with the earlier NCES study.

“They’re actually numerically very close,” he said of the two studies’ results.

“The statistical significance is more extreme here,” he said, “but in terms of the sort of policy results, there’s not much change after doing this adjustment.”

Related Tags:

Events

This content is provided by our sponsor. It is not written by and does not necessarily reflect the views of Education Week's editorial staff.
Sponsor
Student Well-Being Webinar
Attend to the Whole Child: Non-Academic Factors within MTSS
Learn strategies for proactively identifying and addressing non-academic barriers to student success within an MTSS framework.
Content provided by Renaissance
Classroom Technology K-12 Essentials Forum How to Teach Digital & Media Literacy in the Age of AI
Join this free event to dig into crucial questions about how to help students build a foundation of digital literacy.

EdWeek Top School Jobs

Teacher Jobs
Search over ten thousand teaching jobs nationwide — elementary, middle, high school and more.
View Jobs
Principal Jobs
Find hundreds of jobs for principals, assistant principals, and other school leadership roles.
View Jobs
Administrator Jobs
Over a thousand district-level jobs: superintendents, directors, more.
View Jobs
Support Staff Jobs
Search thousands of jobs, from paraprofessionals to counselors and more.
View Jobs

Read Next

Assessment Should Teachers Be Tough Graders? Here's What They Have to Say
Teachers on social media give their opinions on whether stricter grading helps their students learn more.
2 min read
Close cropped photo of a teacher's grade on an essay graded 'F' in red with the words "See Me"
iStock/Getty
Assessment The State of Teaching Where Teachers Say the Pressure to Change Grades Comes From
Teachers are more likely to be pressured by parents than school leaders.
4 min read
Conceptul image in blues of a teacher handing out graded papers.
Liz Yap/Education Week and E+
This content is provided by our sponsor. It is not written by and does not necessarily reflect the views of Education Week's editorial staff.
Sponsor
Assessment Sponsor
Testing Season: Who Are We Really Testing For? Transforming Assessments from Obstacles to Opportunities
As another testing season approaches, a familiar question weighs heavily on our minds: who are these tests serving?
Content provided by Achievement Network
Assessment What the Research Says AI and Other Tech Can Power Better Testing. Can Teachers Use the New Tools?
Assessment experts call for better educator supports for technology use.
3 min read
Illustration of papers and magnifying glass
iStock / Getty Images Plus