CREDO Study Finds Urban Charter Schools Outperform Traditional School Peers

STANFORD, Calif. - March 18, 2015 - Stanford University’s Center for Research on Education Outcomes (CREDO), the nation’s foremost independent analyst of charter school effectiveness, released today a comprehensive Urban Charter Schools Report and 22 state-specific reports that combine to offer policymakers unprecedented insight into the effectiveness of charter schools.

“One of our largest research efforts to date, this study targets our focus on charter schools in urban areas because these are communities where students have faced significant education challenges and are in great need of effective approaches to achieve academic success," said Dr. Margaret Raymond, director of CREDO at Stanford University. "This research shows that many urban charter schools are providing superior academic learning for their students, in many cases quite dramatically better. These findings offer important examples of school organization and operation that can serve as models to other schools, including both public charter schools and traditional public schools."

Across 41 regions, urban charter schools on average achieve significantly greater student success in both math and reading, which amounts to 40 additional days of learning growth in math and 28 days of additional growth in reading. Compared to the national profile of charter school performance, urban charters produce more positive results. CREDO’s National Charter School Study results in 2013 found that charter schools provided seven additional days of learning per year in reading and no significant difference in math.

Similar to the results in the National Charter School Study in 2013, the Urban Charter School report found local variation in the results. Across the 41 regions, more than twice as many urban regions show their charter schools outpacing their district school counterparts than regions where charter school results lag behind them. Despite the overall positive learning impacts, there are still urban communities in which the majority of the charter schools have smaller learning gains compared to their traditional school counterparts.

Summary of urban charter regions

  • 26 urban charter sectors have positive impacts
  • 11 urban charter sectors have smaller learning gains
  • 4 urban charter sectors provide similar levels of growth.
  • 23 urban charter sectors have positive impacts
  • 10 urban charter sectors have smaller learning gains
  • 8 urban charter sectors provide similar levels of growth