Charter Schools Continue to Excel on English Language Arts and with Historically Disadvantaged Student Groups

October 2, 2018

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Sacramento, CA - Results from the 2017-18 California Assessment of Student Performance and Progress (CAASPP) released by the California Department of Education today indicate that statewide academic performance has remained consistent for charter public schools and traditional public schools (TPS). Consistent with prior year trends, California charter schools continue to outperform traditional public schools in English Language Arts, with 51 percent of charter school students meeting or exceeding standards compared to 49 percent of students in TPS. Similarly, charter schools performed four scale score points closer to the met standard on average (as measured by CCSA's estimate of the "Distance from Standard" measure, which the state will report this fall as part of the California School Dashboard). (More detail is in Figure 1 below.)

This new CAASPP data highlights trends similar to those found in studies published by Getting Down to Facts II and CREDO at Stanford University, which indicate that California charter schools are producing stronger achievement outcomes with Latino, African American, socioeconomically disadvantaged students and students with disabilities. As shown in Figure 1 below, charter schools serve 8 percent of African American students (TPS at 5 percent) and are outperforming TPS in both Math and English Language Arts (ELA). While charter schools serve slightly less Latino, socioeconomically disadvantaged students and students with disabilities, they are outperforming with these student groups on ELA and are on par for Math.

Los Angeles Charter Schools Are Outperforming Traditional Public Schools
With 302 charter schools, Los Angeles Unified School District (LAUSD) has the most charter schools of any district in the state. In this region, LAUSD independent charter schools had significantly better CAASPP scores than their traditional public school counterparts1. This outperformance holds true for every measured student group across Math and English Language Arts tests.

This new data continues to echo findings in a 2014 CREDO study on Los Angeles, that showed the Los Angeles charter school sector to be one of the strongest charter school sectors anywhere in the nation. That report demonstrated that Los Angeles charter schools were generating extra weeks and months of learning for all students, but in particular for historically disadvantaged student groups.

In Los Angeles, independent charter schools make up half of the top 10 schools which had the biggest improvement between 2016-17 and 2017-18.

Top 10 Biggest Improvement Schools in Los Angeles Unified School District on CAASPP 20182

  1. Edward R. Royal Learning Center
  2. School of History and Dramatic Arts at Sonia Sotomayor Learning Academies
  3. Hollywood Primary Center
  4. Bert Corona Charter High*
  5. Helen Bernstein High
  6. Alliance Judy Ivie Burton Technology Academy High*
  7. Ulysses S. Grant Senior High
  8. Alliance Ted K. Tajima High*
  9. Magnolia Science Academy 5*
  10. Anahuacalmecac International University Preparatory of North America*
    *Designates Charter Public School

Oakland Charter Schools are Top Performing
Charter schools in Oakland Unified School District (OUSD) significantly outperform their traditional public school counterparts. This difference is especially distinct for English Language Arts results where 44 percent of charter school students met or exceeded grade level standards compared to only 30 percent of traditional public students. In OUSD, the top performing school in the district is a charter school. Of the top 10 schools in the district, four are charter schools.

Top 10 Performing Schools in Oakland Unified School District

  1. Yu Ming Charter*
  2. Hillcrest Elementary
  3. Downtown Charter Academy*
  4. Peralta Elementary
  5. Chabot Elementary
  6. Oakland Charter High*
  7. Thornhill Elementary
  8. Crocker Highlands Elementary
  9. Montclair Elementary
  10. American Indian Public Charter II*
    *Designates Charter Public School

1Independent charter schools are fully autonomous from the district with control over their finances, governance and operations. In LAUSD, there are 54 dependent charters and 248 independent charters.
2Biggest improvement is defined as the greatest gains in scale score points towards grade level standards on average for a school between 2016-17 and 2017-18.