Charter School Performance in Indiana

Andrew Proctor

The Center for Research on Education Outcomes (CREDO) at
Stanford released its latest study of charter school performance, this time
focusing on Indiana. The report follows on CREDO’s 2009 national charter school
study, which found mixed results for charters
nationwide and not-so-stellar results for Ohio charters. Drawing on data from
42 charter schools and 8,959 charter school students in Indiana between 2004
and 2008, researchers developed a comparison methodology that matched students
in traditional public schools with students in charter schools, and compared
the learning growth of the two groups (determined using results from annual
standardized tests). Researchers also measured the impact of attending a
charter school based on the length of time a student was enrolled in a school,
as well as the age of the school.

Learning gains among students in charters were greater when
compared to district peers. The most important finding may be that Black
students in charter schools outperformed Black students in traditional public
schools, and that in math Black students in charter schools were performing at
similar levels to the average white student in traditional public schools.  CREDO’s report
on Ohio in 2009 revealed a less positive narrative for charter schools here. In
sum, Indiana charter schools have performed better (compared to traditional
public schools) than Ohio charter schools have. But while these results are
encouraging for the Hoosier State, as their legislature attempts to expand the
state’s charter school program, robust standards must exist to prevent
the authorization and reauthorization of charters with poor performance. This
is an ongoing battle over charter school quality that Ohio knows all too
well.

 

 Charter School Performance in Indiana
Center for Research
on Education Outcomes
Stanford University
March 2011