Identifying South Carolina Charter Schools That Are “Beating the Odds”
Charter schools have become a widely used alternative to traditional public schools, both nationally and in the Regional Educational Laboratory (REL) Southeast Region. They play an increasingly important role in state reform efforts. South Carolina stakeholders wanted to broaden their understanding of why some charter schools are more successful than others to inform their consideration of whether to expand this school choice option. This study identifies charter schools that are “beating the odds,” or performing better than expected given the demographic characteristics of the students they serve.
The study team worked in partnership with South Carolina Department of Education research personnel to develop a statistical model that identifies charter schools that are beating the odds. The study was designed as a first step in comparing practices and policies and developing learning communities in South Carolina charter schools.
The study was guided by asking, "Which South Carolina charter schools are beating the odds, or performing better than expected on the Palmetto Assessment of State Standards in math and language arts?"
- Of the 33 South Carolina charter schools serving students in any of grades 3–5, 13 (39 percent) were found to be beating the odds in both math and English language arts. One additional charter school was found to be beating the odds in math only.
- Of the 35 South Carolina charter schools serving students in any of grades 6–8, 9 (26 percent) were found to be beating the odds in both math and English language arts.
- Three additional schools were found to be beating the odds in English language arts only.
- Charter schools that were identified as beating the odds were not notably different in observable characteristics from charter schools that were not identified.