One of the major limitations with the National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP) is the sampling error in all the scores. These errors can become quite large when we examine performance for smaller student groups such as black students in charter schools versus blacks in non-charters in the same school jurisdiction.
But, if enough students of color are present, and if their scores are really notably different, we can tell that from the NAEP. And, Atlanta’s 2015 NAEP scores show that city’s charter schools are outperforming traditional schools for black students, in most cases by amounts that are far more than merely statistically significant.
While it takes a fairly large score difference before we can declare Atlanta’s charters are outperforming the city’s traditional public schools, the NAEP Data Explorer’s statistical significance test tools show the scores are statistically significantly different for everything NAEP tested in 2015 in the city except Grade 4 Math. My manual calculation using the standard errors published for the Grade 4 Math scores indicate the actual score difference missed being statistically significant by about half a point. However, the very large score differences for the other subjects are not just statistically significantly different, they are simply very significant.
Atlanta’s charter school performance for NAEP Grade 4 Reading and both subjects in Grade 8 are impressive. Wouldn’t it be nice for Kentucky to join 43 other states that now have charter schools so we could import such good-performing educational systems into places like Louisville?
With a new governor, more evidence of problems in Louisville from the NAEP, and EXPLORE, and a crying need for school choice in Kentucky, it’s time to move ahead for children. It’s time for Kentucky to enact school choice legislation so that children, not adults in the school system, will become the real focus of our school system.
(Updated table on October 31, 2016. NAEP apparently fixed the earlier problem with the sampling error information for Grade 4 math and the statistical tool in the NAEP Data Explorer now provides a valid test)