Charter Schools, Studied”

MIT News; October 29, 2009

Boston Preparatory’s ster­ling aca­d­e­mic record is not unique among its Boston char­ter school peers. Many char­ter schools in Boston (about a dozen mid­dle schools and a dozen high schools in all) pro­duce good test scores. And to be sure, highly moti­vated char­ter school stu­dents could suc­ceed in any aca­d­e­mic set­ting. But in a study pub­lished this year, a team of researchers that includes two MIT econ­o­mists used a novel method to show that in gen­eral, stu­dents per­form bet­ter at those char­ter schools than they would at other types of pub­lic schools.

The effects on stu­dents enrolled in the char­ter schools stud­ied are “just really strik­ing,” says Joshua Angrist, the Ford Professor of Economics at MIT and a mem­ber of the research group. Using data from 2004 to 2007, the team found, for instance, that a middle-school stu­dent rank­ing at the 50th per­centile on the statewide math exams would improve, on aver­age, to roughly the 65th per­centile after just one year in one of the high-performing char­ter schools in Boston.”

By Peter Dizikes