The National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP) results from late winter 2017 testing provide some dramatic evidence about how black charter school students in the Atlanta, Georgia school system compare to blacks attending traditional public schools (TPS) in that city. This table, which shows data extracted from the NAEP Data Explorer, tells the tale, and it is impressive.
Very simply, charter school blacks in Atlanta surpassed in every NAEP area shown, and by a statistically significant amount, as well.
It is hard for the charter schools to post statistically significant differences, by the way, because the NAEP’s sampling errors for district-level scores get pretty big when a racial subgroup’s performance is examined. It takes a rather large score to be statistically significant.
Aside from being statistically significant, the score differences in the table also are quite large for the NAEP.
Furthermore, as we discussed in our earlier blog this week about doing comparisons using the NAEP, the results above are actually somewhat biased against the true charter school picture in Atlanta. This is because the NAEP results include all students. That includes first-year students who have probably not spent enough time in their new charter school to realize full benefits. So, the already dramatic story for charters told by the table above actually understates the real capability of charters to excel for students over time.
While the table shows the results using NAEP Scale Scores, I took a quick look at the Grade 8 NAEP Math proficiency rates for 2017 in the NAEP Data Explorer, as well. Charter school blacks in Atlanta scored 21 percent proficient while blacks in the city’s traditional public schools only logged 7 percent proficient.
Statewide in Kentucky, by the way, black students only scored 9 percent proficient on Grade 8 NAEP Math. So, black students in Atlanta’s charters have three times the proficiency rate of those in the city’s TPS. And, those same inner-city Atlanta blacks more than doubled Kentucky’s statewide black average proficiency rate for Grade 8 NAEP Math in 2017, too.
Certainly, we want to see a lot more than 21 percent math proficiency rates, but it is clear that Atlanta’s black charter school students are performing far better than Kentucky’s black students currently do.
By the way, you now can see it is no accident that the Kentucky Department of Education crafted its charter school regulations using Georgia as a model. Because of this, you can also be more confident that when funding is finally found for charter schools in Kentucky, the results are likely to be very welcome in the Bluegrass State.