Charters like DC Prep, Achievement Prep show impressive test score results with low-income students

As is typical with the release of test scores, there's a lot of chatter about which scores went up, which scores went down, and then it quickly fades. We wanted to keep that conversation going about test results and take a deeper look at the data.

First, a little background. The DC Comprehensive Assessment System tests students in grades 3 through 8 and 10 in reading, math and science. 

As charter schools have grown to 41 percent of the DC public school population, charter schools have consistently outperformed both DC Public Schools and the DC statewide average in reading and math.

But looking more closely at the data, which Friends of Choice in Urban Schools (FOCUS) has done, you can see the remarkable results that charter schools have with low-income students. FOCUS took the the schools in the city that have the highest number of students eligible for free and reduced lunch, and looked at those schools combined math and reading scores. The result? Nine out of the top 10 non-selective schools with more than 50 percent of students on free and reduced lunch are charter schools (scroll to bottom of this page).

That means that a school like DC Prep's Edgewood Middle campus in Ward 5, which has 77 percent of its test-takers who are eligible for free and reduced lunch, had a combined math and reading proficiency rate of 80 percent.  Or Achievement Preparatory Academy in Ward 8, which has 85 percent of its students eligible for free and reduced lunch, had a 77 percent proficient score in reading and math. 

Even when you use the same criteria to expand the list to the top 20 non-selective public schools, charters are 18 out of the top 20 schools.

That's impressive! Check out FOCUS's DC CAS page for even more information about charter school performance by ward


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