About Charter Schools

Academic Performance

Massachusetts charter public schools are closing the achievement gap!

Nationwide, there’s a disturbing and persistent achievement gap between rich and poor kids. Here in Massachusetts, however, charter public schools are proving that students from poor urban communities can achieve at the same high level of academic success as those children from affluent suburbs. Indeed, some of our urban charter schools that serve predominantly economically disadvantaged students and children of color are ranked among the best schools in the state.

Compared to their district school peers, a higher percentage of Massachusetts charter public school students are scoring proficient or advanced in all subject tests at every grade level. But it is in the challenging arena of Boston and our Gateway Cities that Massachusetts charter schools are making their most impressive strides.

Urban charter schools aced the 2014 MCAS 

  • Urban/Gateway City charter public schools outperformed their sending districts by wide margins
  • A higher percentage of African American, Hispanic, economically disadvantage students enrolled in charter public schools are achieving “proficiency” in all subjects compared to their district peers
  • A higher percentage of students with special needs and English-language learners attending charter public schools scored higher in proficient and advanced categories in English and Math compared to their district peers
  • All 6 Boston charter high schools ranked among the city’s top 10 non-exam high schools (Grade 10 English/Math)
  • 8 charter middle schools ranked among the city’s top 10 non-exam middle schools (Grades 7 English/Math)
  • Charter elementary schools ranked Number 1 in the city in Grades 3-5
  • Forty-five percent of charter public schools were rated Level 1 on the state’s accountability system, which measures success at closing race-and-income-based achievement gaps
  • 43 percent of Boston charters were rated Level 1 compared to 14 percent of Boston district schools
  • 50 percent of all Gateway City charters were rated Level 1 compared to 16 percent of district schools
  • 18 different charters – including 6 from Boston, and schools from Lawrence, Salem, Marlboro, Adams and Greenfield – ranked Number 1 in the state on various tests based on percentage of children scoring proficient or advanced, or in terms of academic improvement.
  • 14 different charters – including 7 from Boston – ranked Number 1 in the state on various tests based on the percentage of African American children scoring proficient or advanced
  • 15 different charters – including 7 from Boston – ranked Number 1 in the state on various tests based on the percentage of Hispanic children scoring proficient or advanced
  • According to a 2009 study by Harvard and MIT, Boston charter schools erased half the achievement gap in a single year.  By 8th grade, Boston students who entered charter schools in grade 4 improved their test scores to match Brookline's, one of the state's top districts.
  • According to a 2013 study by Stanford University’s Center for Research on Education Outcomes (CREDO), students in Boston charter schools are learning at double the rate of their district peers – receiving more than twelve months of additional learning per year in reading and thirteen months greater progress per year in math.   Statewide, the average charter public school student makes academic progress equivalent to spending two and a half more months in school in math and one and half more months in school in English (compared to district students).  The academic progress of these charter students accelerated the longer the students remained in charters.

* For a statewide MCAS performance summary, download this PDF