Charters Make Denver Public Schools' Growth Performance Look Better Than It Is, Says A-Plus Denver

Courtney Williams's picture
Friday, January 13, 2012

Without factoring charter school test scores into overall Denver Public Schools performance data, the district growth in middle and high school is about 5 points lower than calculated cumulatively, according to an analysis released Thursday.

"The district should be more careful when it says they're doing remarkable," said Van Schoales, director of the advocacy group, A-Plus Denver who released the report. "In regards to charter school authorizing that may be the case, but it isn't the case that what they are doing in district-managed schools is driving that growth."

The report found that the impact charter schools have on DPS scores is most notable in grade-level averages starting at sixth grade. The schools with the most driving force are charter network schools including Denver School of Science and Technology and West Denver Prep.

In all-school averages, DPS's growth score — among the highest compared to large urban districts — was only impacted by 1 percentage point.

But the analysis found grade-level averages for middle and high school grades were impacted by charter school scores by close to 5 percentage points.

In sixth grade math growth scores, for instance, DPS had a median growth score of 58 percentage points. If charter school scores are removed, the district-run schools have a score of 52 percentage points.

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