D.C. Public Charter Schools See Significant Gains in Math and Reading Proficiency

Monday, July 13, 2009
News Release
3333 14th Street, N.W.,  Suite 210
Washington, DC  20010
Phone: 202-328-2660
For Immediate Release: July 13, 2009
Contact: Audrey Williams 202/328-3278
Washington, D.C. - The D.C. Public Charter School Board today announced that preliminary results of the D.C. Comprehensive Assessment System (DC CAS), the citywide standardized test, show that charter schools achieved significant gains in math and reading proficiency compared to last year, with secondary schools showing the most improvement. Public charter school students are required to take the DC CAS annually to comply with the No Child Left Behind (NCLB) Act.

 Seventy-nine percent of secondary schools showed reading gains of up to 26 points and seventy-one percent of secondary schools improved math scores by as much as 39 points. Sixty-one percent of elementary schools had reading gains of up to 29 points, while 57 percent of elementary schools had math gains of up to 33 points.

 Overall, secondary schools averaged 57 percent proficiency levels in math, an average 9-point gain from last year. With an average proficiency of 53 percent in reading, secondary schools saw an average 7-point gain. Elementary school proficiency levels were flat with an average of 42 percent proficiency in math -- a half point drop from last year. In reading, elementary schools averaged 45 percent proficiency -- a half point drop from last year.

 "It's very encouraging to see such substantial gains in the secondary school population which is the most difficult to bring to proficiency across the country," said Tom Nida, D.C. Public Charter School Board chair. "With a 2008 graduation rate of 88 percent and this year's 80 % college acceptance rate, it suggests that we are beginning to see the fruits of these past 12 years of charter school progress," Nida said. "It would be a worthwhile study to look at the progress of students who have remained in charter schools from K through 12th grade. While we are encouraged with this progress, there is clearly more progress to be made to meet the city's high expectations and the ambitious goals of the NCLB law. We will continue to hold schools accountable for high quality instruction, and improved student outcomes, and we remain committed to partnering with all of this city's stakeholders to transform public education in this city into a model befitting the nation's capital."

 DC CAS is one part of the D.C. Public Charter School Board's (PCSB) comprehensive performance management framework, which evaluates charter school performance through a thorough review of academic performance, including yearly student achievement, student progress over time, mission-specific measures and student readiness for graduation and post-secondary success. Review of non-academic indicators includes compliance with local and federal laws, governance capacity and fiscal management. The entire framework gives the Board a full picture of how well schools are functioning and whether students are on track to graduate fully prepared for higher education and career opportunities.

 Individual charter schools received their data today and will have two weeks to review and verify the information. Final DC CAS results by school and grade levels as well as AYP report cards will be published by July 28.