February 28, 2013
Meg Cotter Mazzola
(202) 441-1287
CREDO at Stanford University provides a second in-depth examination of results for charter schools in Massachusetts


Stanford, CA- A new report released today by Stanford University’s Center for Research on Education Outcomes (CREDO) found that the typical student in a Massachusetts charter school gains more learning in a year than his or her district school peer, amounting to about one and a half more months of learning per year in reading and two and a half more months of learning per year in math.

In addition to analyzing state trends, the study included a separate analysis of Boston charter schools. The results for the typical student in a Boston charter (about 13 percent of the state’s charter students) were even more pronounced, equating to more than twelve months of additional learning per year in reading and thirteen months greater progress per year in math. At the school level, 83 percent of Boston charter schools have significantly more positive learning gains than their district school peers in reading and math, and no Boston charter schools were found to have significantly lower learning gains.

“The average growth rate of Boston charter students in math and reading is the largest CREDO has seen in any city or state thus far. These results signify that these schools could serve as a model and have an opportunity to transfer knowledge to not only the rest of the state but to the national sector as well,” said Edward Cremata, Research Associate and co-author of the Massachusetts report.

CREDO at Stanford University is the nation’s foremost independent analyst of charter school effectiveness. This report provides the second in-depth examination of the results for charter schools in Massachusetts by CREDO. For this analysis, a total of 25,473 charter school students (with 50,553 observations across 5 growth periods) are followed for as many years as data are available.

The 2013 Massachusetts analysis found that statewide 44 percent of charter schools have significantly larger learning gains in reading, while 56 percent do so in math. Thirteen percent of charter schools have results that are significantly worse than their district school peers in reading and 17 percent of charters are worse in math. Results for charter schools outside of Boston were mixed, with suburban and rural charters seeing positive and significant growth compared to their district counterparts, while charters located in “towns” (according to the National Center for Education Statistics) had significantly lower growth in reading and similar growth in math compared to their district school peers.

“The results for Boston are meaningful in two ways.  First, they provide an example for charter schools elsewhere in the state, where performance was not as strong.  Second, and more important, the Boston charter schools offer students from historically underserved backgrounds a real and sustained chance to close the achievement gap,” said Margaret Raymond, Director of CREDO at Stanford University.

To download a copy of the state report visit:

About CREDO at Stanford University

CREDO at Stanford University was established to improve empirical evidence about education reform and student performance at the primary and secondary levels. CREDO at Stanford University supports education organizations and policymakers in using reliable research and program evaluation to assess the performance of education initiatives. CREDO’s valuable insight helps educators and policymakers strengthen their focus on the results from innovative programs, curricula, policies or accountability practices.