The latest data from the Smarter Balanced Assessment Consortium (SBAC), released by the Office of Superintendent of Public Instruction (OSPI) last month, has unveiled promising progress in Washington State charter public schools’ academic performance.
Notably, these schools have outperformed their statewide peers, particularly among Black, Latinx, and low-income students.
Between the academic years 2020-2021 and 2022-2023, charter public school students in Washington state have shown significant strides in academic recovery from the disruptions caused by the COVID-19 pandemic. Their proficiency in English Language Arts (ELA) increased by 6%, while their proficiency in math surged by 15%. These gains are twice the state’s average improvement in ELA, which stands at 3%, and they substantially exceed the state’s 9% improvement in math. This progress is bringing charter public school students closer to pre-pandemic levels of achievement.
Washington state’s charter public schools are free, open to all, and have the flexibility to cater to the diverse needs of their students.
According to the SBAC data, Black and Latinx students in charter public schools are three times (40% vs. 13%) and twice (38% vs. 19%) as likely, respectively, to meet math proficiency standards when compared to their peers in district schools.
In ELA, Black and Latinx charter public school students are approximately 1.5 times as likely to meet proficiency standards than their peers in traditional public schools. Moreover, low-income students in charter public schools met proficiency standards in math, ELA, and science, at rates outpacing their counterparts in traditional public schools.
In Washington State public charter schools, the rate of multilingual language learners achieving proficiency is double that of their peers in traditional public schools in math and ELA. Additionally, the rate of students with disabilities in charter public schools achieving proficiency exceeds that of their peers in traditional public schools in math, ELA and science.
Natalie Hester, co-president of External Affairs at the Washington State Charter School Association, said, “We are inspired by these results. These figures affirm the promise of community-rooted, student-centered charter public schools that are both accountable and flexible, highlighting their importance within the broader education system.”