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Charter schools nearly even with LA Unified schools on state tests

Craig Clough | September 9, 2015

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This one is sure to spark some discussion around LA Unified water coolers tomorrow: Independent charter schools in the district scored almost even with traditional and affiliated charters on the new California Assessment of Student Progress and Performance (CAASPP) tests.

The results of the new Common Core-aligned tests, which were released today, show that traditional/affiliated charter schools and independent charter schools are within two and half percentage points in overall performance in both math and English language arts, according to the California Charter Schools Association (CCSA).

The CCSA crunched the numbers on independent charter schools in the district and the state, as the information released by the California Department of Education provided overall scores for school districts but only individual scores for independent charter schools.

The CCSA released a press release touting the results, saying that LAUSD’s independent charter schools are “performing 26 points better on English Language Arts and 25 points higher on Math.” However, considering the scoring scale is between 2,000 and 3,000, the difference is roughly 2.5 percent. Both are still below the state average, with LAUSD schools 28 points below overall and its independent charters three points below.

Statewide, charters scored 4.9 points better than non-charters in English language arts and 2.4 points better in math, according to a press release by CCSA. This equaled a three percent difference in English and within the same percentage point on math.

As the debate about the value of charters is heating up to new levels since the news that billionaire school reform leader Eli Broad and several other powerful players are planning a massive expansion of charter schools in LA Unified, these numbers are likely to be spun in both directions by the opposing sides of the charter debate.


*Updated to show the difference is 2.5 percent, not .025

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