How did students in Ohio's urban districts & charters perform (achievement & growth)?

With the help of our friends at Public Impact - who did the data analysis represented by the graphs below ? today we continue our series on Ohio school performance data with a look at student performance in Ohio's ?Big 8? districts (Akron, Canton, Cincinnati, Cleveland, Columbus, Dayton, Toledo, and Youngstown) and charter schools.

First let's look at raw achievement of students attending Ohio's Big 8 district schools, and bricks-and-mortar charters in the Big 8. (We'll look at e-school charter performance later in the series.) Achievement is measured by a ?Performance Index,? a weighted average of student achievement in all tested subjects in grades 3-8, and which ranges from 1-120 (100 is the state goal).

Chart 1 compares the distribution of PI scores of bricks-and-mortar charters in the Big 8 districts to the distribution for traditional schools in those districts. There are two things to look for in the chart below. First, the higher the point on the graph, the more schools with that PI score. Second, the further to the right the curve, the higher the PI score.

Not surprisingly, charter schools are overrepresented at both the upper and lower tails of the performance scale.? A greater percentage of charter schools than district schools have PI scores of 100 or better; 8.4 percent of charters are in this high-flying category compared to 5.6 percent of district schools.? Unfortunately, the same is true for schools with PI scores of 60 or below. While only 4 percent of district schools fall into this category, 14.2 percent of charters do.

Chart 1: Distribution of Performance Index Scores, Ohio 8 Charter Schools vs. Ohio 8 District Schools, 2010-11

Source: Ohio interactive local report card. * Note: Schools were sorted into five-point Performance Index score ranges (40.0 to 44.9, 45.0 to 49.9, etc.).? Each data point on the chart above indicates the percentage of charter or district schools that fell into that five-point Performance Index range. For example, the highest point of the blue charter curve indicates that 17.3 percent of all charters earned a Performance Index score between 80.0 and 84.9.

Fordham has noticed this ?mixed? bag among charter performance pretty much every year we do the analysis, which is one reason we've pushed so hard for stronger accountability mechanisms to weed out poor performers without penalizing the excellent charters we do have. Charter performance also differs quite dramatically by city: this year, four of the top schools (by PI score) in Columbus were charters; in Cleveland, charters took six of the top slots.

Next, let's look at value-added growth, which Terry also wrote about this morning. Ohio categorizes each school as making Above Expected Growth, Expected Growth, or Below Expected Growth. (Value-added scores are only available for schools serving some combination of grades 3-8.)

Chart 2 shows the percentage of Ohio 8 charter and district schools that fell into these categories in 2010-11. While 60 percent of both charter and district schools made expected growth, charter schools generally outperformed their district counterparts on growth measures.? A smaller percentage of charters (16 percent) failed to meet growth targets, compared to 20 percent of district schools.? And nearly a quarter (24 percent) of charters exceeded academic growth expectations, compared to only one in five district schools. ?(To see how each city fared, go to our city-by-city analyses from yesterday. Columbus charters, for example, blew it out of the water on value-added.)

Chart 2: Distribution of Ohio 8 Charter Schools?vs. Ohio 8 District Schools by Value-Added Growth Category, 2010-11?

Source: Ohio interactive local report card.

Don't miss highlights from yesterday's data release, our take on Dayton's achievement trajectory, a look at trends in value-added data, or our city-by-city analyses. To help you keep track, all of these snapshots will be housed on our 2010-11 report card webpage.

That's a wrap for today. Stay tuned for more!

*Analyses by Dana Brinson, Daniela Doyle, and Tom Koester

Jamie Davies O'Leary

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