As North Carolinians prepare for a significant increase in the number of charter schools, the National Alliance for Public Charter Schools reports that the nation’s charter schools had tremendous performance gains on the federal National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP) test.
In nearly every category that we examined, students in charter schools made larger gains than students in traditional public schools. And these gains are substantial. At the overall level, charter school gains decreased the gap between students in charters and traditional public schools. In many of the breakouts by student and school categories, charter schools exceeded traditional public schools and the gains charters made are quite large.
The U.S. Department of Education administers the NAEP to a representative sample of students, so it is a bad idea to make sweeping generalizations about the results. That does not mean we can’t be encouraged by charter school performance on this rigorous, federal assessment.