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State EOG Averages: Public Charter Students outperform Traditional Public Students

charterpubperformgraphAccording to official state data, how do public charter students compare to public traditional students on state End-of Grade tests?  Each year, the NC Department of Public Instruction publishes the results of state End-of-Grade testing. The results include both traditional public students and public charter students, as all public charter schools are required to take EOGs. Each year, NCDPI calculates a state average. The average reflects the percentage of EOG tests passed on the first administration. This year’s state average is 56.6 percent. This student performance average includes all public students in the state, both traditional and charter.

This average is interesting, as public charter schools are required to have student performance averages of at least 60 percent or face closure. Thus, students in most public charter schools are performing above the state student performance average—but by what margin? What is the performance average of students in public charter schools?

This important statistic is not calculated by NCDPI, thus we began our work to calculate it.

NCDPI raw testing data for the 2014-2015 school year—the same data by which the all-public state average is calculated—  reveals that the state average EOG performance for public charter students is 66.7%. This is ten percentage points higher than the all-public state average of 56.6 percent. With public charter schools separated out, the state average for traditional public schools drops slightly to 56.1 percent.

Additionally, when thinking of all public charter schools as a district and ranking it with the 115 traditional districts in the state, the “charter district” average of 66.7 percent would rank the charter district 10th of 116 districts.

This data reveals that public charter school students pass significantly more of their tests than do traditional school students.   At the criteria for Grade Level Proficiency (EOG scores of 3, 4 or 5), public charter students pass 19 percent more of their tests than public traditional school students. At the criteria for Career/College Readiness (EOG scores of 4 or 5), public charter students pass 22% more of their tests than public traditional students.  These student data explain why there is a higher percentage of A+, A, and B schools among public charters than public traditional.   Note also that a recent DPI report revealed that NC public charter schools currently serve equal or greater percentages of minorities than do traditional public schools in four of six minority categories.

Thus, the charter law mandates that charter student performance averages exceed the current traditional student average while also receiving no capital funds for construction, facilities, maintenance, etc. and only 73 percent of the per-pupil funds provided to traditional public students. These data prove that NC’s public charter schools are exceeding this mandate— providing higher scores for lower cost.

Public charter schools are entirely tuition-free and any student may choose to attend. Public charter schools are unique in their freedom to select alternative curricula instead of the state-mandated curriculum, which in NC, is Common Core.  A purpose of allowing public charter schools to adopt alternative curricula while remaining subject to the same accountability and testing requirements as traditional public schools is to improve public education as a whole by revealing successful curricula or methods that can be used inform state education policies. Further, public charter schools provide choices for parents who, without public charter schools or the ability to pay private school tuition, would likely face a single public school option that is determined by their address.

The NC Alliance for Public Charter Schools is an educational advocacy organization comprised of charter school administrators, directors, and former public school officials as well as other professionals dedicated to improving education in North Carolina. The mission of the Alliance is to be a strong voice that speaks transparently for the good of all public charter schools and their students.

Data used in these calculations is publicly available at: http://www.ncpublicschools.org/accountability/reporting/ in the first summary report at http://www.ncpublicschools.org/docs/accountability/reporting/acctsumm15.xlsx.

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