Publications & Resources

A Further Examination of Student Progress in Charter Schools Using the California API

May 2002

David Rogosa

In their March 2002 report “California Charter Schools Serving Low-SES Students: An Analysis of the Academic Performance Index” Simeon P. Slovacek, Antony J. Kunnan, and Hae-Jin Kim (hereafter SKK) raise and pursue an important issue: in their words to “compare student achievement between California charter schools and California non-charter schools while taking students’ socioeconomic status (SES) into consideration” (SKK, p.1). SKK deserve commendation for attempting a longitudinal analysis using three years of API data. However, mistakes in the identification of schools and in the assembly of school data, plus flaws in their data analysis approaches, render the SKK conclusions incorrect. Even if the SKK data and data analyses had been sound, the strong conclusions expressed in their report (and also in the press coverage of the report) were unwarranted. The body of this report contains three main sections. Section 2 “Repairing the SKK Data Set” describes the necessary corrections to the SKK data before the analyses can be conducted. Section 3, “Results from Improved Analyses,” describes aggregate student progress by grade-level and subgroups. Section 4, “Reconsidering the SKK Analyses and Results”, presents the results of a corrected version of the SKK analyses, and describes the flaws in the SKK analysis strategy that motivated the further analyses in Section 3. The final section, Discussion, contains a point-bypoint refutation for the SKK “Summary of Findings” and a recapitulation of the results from the preferred analyses.

Rogosa, D. (2002). A further examination of student progress in charter schools using the California API (CSE Report 521). Los Angeles: University of California, Los Angeles, National Center for Research on Evaluation, Standards, and Student Testing (CRESST).