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Gold Standard Study Shows Charters Score High in NYC

Lisa Snell
July 31, 2007, 10:38am

Another great study from Harvard's Caroline Hoxby that shows New York City charter schools scoring higher and with more disadvantaged kids. Via Education Week Students in New York City charter schools are, on average, posting higher gains in reading and mathematics than they would have had they attended the city's regular public schools, a federally financed study concludes. Issued this week, the report comes amid a continuing national debate on how charters stack up academically. It uses what the authors call the "gold standard" in research: a randomized trial of students who entered lotteries to attend charter schools compared with students who applied but did not win slots. The study finds the strongest charter gains in math. A charter student in grades 3-8 is gaining about an extra 12 percent of a performance level in math each year over the comparison group, the study says. In reading, the growth is approximately an extra 3.5 percent each year. "This means that a charter school student whom we would have expected to be failing if he had stayed in the traditional public schools would be, at the end of 13 years of charter school education (K-12), above proficient in math," Caroline M. Hoxby, an economics professor at Harvard University and a co-author of the study, wrote in an e-mail. More than 90 percent of the charter applicants in the study came from low-income families, far more than in the 1.1 million-student school system as a whole, the authors say. Sixty-four percent were black, compared with 32 percent of students citywide.

Lisa Snell is Director of Education


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