Charter school students continue to outperform peers in traditional public schools

March 26, 2019

Students in Florida charter schools are outperforming their peers in traditional schools in nearly every category according to the Florida Department of Education’s annual charter school performance report, released today.

The analysis used 2017-18 school year data to examine the average performance of charter school students and traditional public school students in terms of grade level achievement, learning gains and achievement gap. Data included in the report, based on more than 4.2 million test scores, was derived from student performance on the Florida Standards Assessments for English language arts and mathematics as well as statewide assessments for science and social studies.

The achievement section of the report measured the percentage of students who scored a Level 3 or above on the statewide assessment. A score of 3 is considered passing or at grade level. In 63 of 77 comparisons, students enrolled in charter schools demonstrated higher rates of grade level performance.

The achievement gap section measured the gap between white students and African-American students and white students and Hispanic students in English language arts, mathematics, science and social studies. The achievement gap was lower for charter school students in 19 of 22 comparisons.

The learning gains section of the report compared the percentage of students in charter schools making learning gains against the percentage of students in traditional public schools making learning gains by subject, grade level and subgroup. The percentage of students making learning gains was higher in charter schools in 88 of 96 comparisons.

The report further showed that in comparisons of achievement and learning gains, students eligible for free or reduced-price lunch in charter schools performed better than low-income students in district-managed schools in 93 percent of the comparisons.

Overall performance as measured by school grades showed that 47 percent of graded charter schools earned As compared to 28 percent of graded traditional schools.

The annual report is a coordinated effort between the Office of Independent Education and Parental Choice and the Bureau of Evaluation and Reporting in the Division of Accountability, Research and Measurement.

Charter school enrollment has more than doubled over the last decade and represents more than 10 percent of public school enrollment in Florida. Charter schools served more than 295,000 students in the 2017-18 school year.

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