NYC Charter Schools Among Bright Spots as State Sets New Baseline

UPDATE: We posted our in-depth analysis of charter school test scores. View it here.

The 2012-13 school year marked a new era for public education in New York State, as teachers and students directed their work according to the Common Core State Standards. The test scores released today provide schools a new baseline from which to judge their progress—with the confidence that students who score as Proficient throughout their K-12 careers will not enter college unprepared. James Merriman issued the following statement:

The results confirm what educators across New York City have known for some time—the majority of our students aren’t on track for success in college and beyond,” said James Merriman, CEO of the New York City Charter School Center. “This is clear proof that we need continued reform of the system – we must move forward not backwards. We should applaud the impressive scores of highly successful charters, including the Success, Icahn, Achievement First, and Uncommon Schools networks, and independent schools including South Bronx Classical Charter School and Bronx Charter School for Excellence, as well as those traditional district schools that are beating the odds. If there was ever a time to learn from our best schools, whether charter or district, it’s today.”

Here are some highlights:

  • Like schools across the state, New York City charter schools saw their students achieve lower scores on the harder tests. Across the NYC charter sector, students scored at least Proficient at a higher rate than students in citywide district schools in Math (34.8% vs. 29.6%), but a lower rate in English Language Arts (25.0% vs. 26.4%).
  • According to the NYC DOE, 79% of NYC charter schools posted higher proficiency rates in Math than their district and charter “peer” schools—identified based on student characteristics, through the NYC DOE Progress Report methodology—while 54% posted higher rates than their peer schools in ELA.
  • Over 90% of NYC charter students are Black or Hispanic, but charter proficiency rates (34.8% Math, 25.0% in ELA) are significantly higher than the district average for these student subgroups. In NYC district schools, Black students scored Proficient or better at a rate of 16.3%/15.3% in Math/ELA; among Hispanic students in NYC district schools it was 18.6%/16.6%. (Testing data about additional subgroups is not yet available.)
  • The distribution of scores within the charter sector is noticeably wider than in years past. While many charter schools struggled, others were among the highest-performing in the city. Success Charter Network posted the charter sector’s highest proficiency rate in both Math (82.0%) and ELA (58.4%). By way of comparison, NYC district school students in the highest-scoring Race/Ethnicity category—Asian—scored 61.4% proficient in Math, 48.1% in ELA.

Use our interactive data tool below to explore individual schools’ scores. Since test results are impacted by a wide range of factors including enrollment/attrition patterns, grade levels served, and student demographics, we hope this tool is used as a mere starting point for further inquiry.

Download Charter School Scores (.xls)       Download Analysis