Update on 2012-13 CCSA Results on CCSA's Minimum Accountability Criteria

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January 19, 2013 Based on the latest release of CCSA's 2012-13 Academic Accountability Report Cards, we are seeing reasons for optimism regarding trends in charter school performance. Read more about the trends in our upcoming Portrait of the Movement.

For 2012-13, of the 621 charter schools with at least three years of data, 23 charter schools (4%) do not meet our criteria. Since none of these 23 schools is in renewal, we will not be calling for their closure this year. As we have done in prior years, we are reaching out to each of these schools to provide early warning and to offer support. In more general terms, we are seeing reasons for optimism regarding trends in the distribution of charter school performance. Over time we have seen some positive movement both in an increase in the number of high performing and a decrease in chronically underperforming charter schools, but it is too early to state with confidence that these improvements are large enough, or will endure long enough, to constitute an actual trend. This coincides with a significant number of charter schools performing in the bottom 10% being closed. In the last four years, 123 charter schools have closed, and of those that had sufficient data, roughly half were in the bottom 10% on Percent Predicted API. We take these developments as signs that, with continued partnership with our members, we have the potential to significantly improve the performance profile of charter schools.

To continue this work, we have to remain both diligent and agile. We believe that with continued partnership with our members, we have the potential to significantly improve the performance profile of charter schools. Many factors are affecting the accountability systems that charter schools are subject to, such as the implementation of SB 1290 updating charter school renewal regulations, the signing of SB 1458 calling for a revamped API including college and career readiness measures, Superintendent of Public Instruction Tom Torlakson's call for suspension of a number of high school CSTs, and the fast approaching transition to Smarter Balanced Assessments and Common Core State Standards. Some of these developments are inarguably positive such as the requirements to include a wider range of performance indicators in accountability systems, something we and our members have been supporting for several years.

In addition, higher quality data is now becoming more widely available in the state - data showing the growth of individual students, something our members and the Association have wanted to see emerge. We have long said that we would enhance our own accountability framework once better data became available. As such, we believe that we must push forward with the next chapter in our academic accountability work - to incorporate a wider range of indicators and higher quality data. As ever we will work with our Member Council and our members more broadly to do this work. Next month we look forward to commencing this work at our Member Council meeting and we will be providing our members more broadly many opportunities for input at regional meetings and through other means.

Meanwhile, our research and data team will continue to analyze performance trends within the movement. One trend that the team uncovered is that charter schools four years and older have had a more positive performance distribution than all charter schools in recent years. We observe higher percentages of these older schools performing in the top 5% and significantly lower percentages in the bottom 5%. These results suggest that charter schools that successfully navigate the one-time challenges of school opening become increasingly likely to demonstrate performance towards the right side of the U. These and other results will be incorporated in an upcoming Portrait of the Movement publication. Be sure to be on the lookout for it later this spring.