A group of charter school organizations including the National Alliance for Public Charter Schools and the National Association of Charter School Authorizers, issued a report this week that presents findings from a panel charged with developing a framework for judging the academic quality of charter schools. The report lays out four essential indicators of academic quality: student achievement, student progress over time, post-secondary readiness and success, and student engagement. Each indicator is accompanied by multiple measures, metrics, and benchmarks that define how each is to be operationalized. For example, student achievement measures include proficiency levels on state assessments, college entrance exam scores, and high school exit exams (as applicable). For the most part, the indicators and their corresponding data points are ones commonly used to measure quality (e.g., graduation rates, percentage of students passing high school exit exams). ??The report has, in a sense, packaged prior disparate indicators all together in one piece.
The report also appears to be a response to those who
believe that the vast diversity in charter school missions, educational models, and student populations--as well as differences in state accountability requirements and individual authorizer expectations--makes it impossible to establish common standards and measures of quality that are applicable and meaningful to all kinds of charter schools.
Advocates hold that a more comprehensive framework like this one will deter "reliance on snapshot data" that "lead to ill-informed judgments about charter schools."
In short, the report issues a resounding charge for...