Effects on Student Test Scores at Charter and Traditional Public Schools
September 27, 2012
On average, charter schools perform no better than traditional public schools. Some, however, such as those in the Harlem Children’s Zone, have demonstrated a remarkable ability to improve student test scores. Research by Roland Fryer suggests that there are five keys to this success: focusing on human capital, using student data to drive instruction, providing high-dosage tutoring, extending time on task, and fostering a culture of high expectations. Fryer is currently conducting experiments in Houston and Denver to determine whether these five pillars of success can be transplanted into traditional public schools, and the preliminary evidence suggests that they can. In fact, the results thus far are strikingly comparable to those seen in charter schools. In this way, the best charter schools can help inform the public debate on how to improve all schools.