Dover, Del.–February 16, 2006The State Board of Education, along with the Department of Education, contracted with the Evaluation Centerat Western Michigan University in 2003 to conduct a multi-year evaluation of Delaware’s charter school program.Dr. Gary Miron is the Chief of Staff of the Center and is the principal researcher on this project.Year two of the report is being released today.
The report continues its focus on charter school teachers using data from teacher surveys,certification data available at the State level and interviews with charter school administrators.Teacher background, qualifications, and satisfaction levels are part of the data collected and analyzed.The Year 2 Report notes that charter schools are hiring more certified teachers and holding on to them longer.
The accomplishment of charter school goals and objectives is also an area of research.The report notes improvement overall in the organization and clarity of the reporting of goals and objectivesfor charter schools but still finds some of the academic and behavioral objectives vary in qualityand are at times difficult to measure.
A third focus of the report is the analysis of student performance on the Delaware Student Testing Program (DSTP)for charter school students. Available test data allow for some comparisonsbetween students of like demographics in traditional public schools and charter schools.There are limitations to the study but it does provide some indications of the progress charter schoolsare making with their student populations. The conclusions suggest that charter studentsin the upper grades perform better than students in traditional public schools,but the study notes some serious limitations of the data in this area.The middle grade results are mixed and at the elementary grades, charter schools seem to be doing less wellthan the traditional public schools with like students. These results mirror the results published last year.
For Year 3 of the study, student test data will be available for all grades 2 through 10allowing for a closer look at comparison groups. Several more charter schools will also be added to the data base.
The State Board and the Department of Education are pleased with the data analysis.According to Jean Allen, President of the State Board of Education,“This study provides us with a perspective on charter schools that we cannot see in our usual interactionswith charter schools. It is important for us to take an in-depth view as well as follow the schools over time.”
Secretary of Education Valerie A. Woodruff echoed Mrs. Allen’s comments.“We invest a lot of time and energy in charter school oversight.It is helpful for a respected outside research group to provide a neutral perspectiveabout the status of Delaware’s charter schools.”
Delaware Department of Education
401 Federal Street, Suite #2
Dover, Delaware 19901
Phone: (302) 735-4035
Fax: (302) 739-4654
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