(Austin, Texas) – A new national study of 27 states released today finds improvement in the overall performance of charter schools. The National Charter School Study 2013 by the Center for Research on Education Outcomes (CREDO) at Stanford University is the follow-up to CREDO’s 2009 multi-state study (using 2006-2007 and 2007-2008 TEA data) and shows “charter school students now have greater learning gains in reading than their peers in traditional public schools.” CREDO’s 2013 study used 2006-2007 through 2010-2011 TEA data.
“We are pleased to see significant improvement in the impact of public charter schools in Texas, in both Reading and Math, since the 2009 CREDO study,” said David Dunn, executive director of the Texas Charter Schools Association. “This 2013 study also highlights the importance of quality authorizing and shows that closure of charter schools consistently not meeting the needs of students is key to greater gains for charter students. We applaud the Texas Legislature for already setting the stage for improved quality with SB 2. This session’s landmark charter legislation will strengthen authorizing and closure as well as spur on effective, quality charters to serve more students in Texas.”
CREDO uses a unique comparison technique for their research known as the “virtual control record (VCR) method” where charter school students are compared to their “virtual twin” from neighboring traditional public schools. The method matches students based upon previous test scores, geographic and demographic similarities with some limitations to their model as noted by CREDO, including smaller proportions of black, Hispanic, ELL and special education students in the matched group. Additionally, their use of “charter students with at least two consecutive test scores eligible to be included in [the] study” could cause a highly mobile population, such as that of a dropout recovery school to be underrepresented in the study.