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A Think Twice Review of:

Charter School Performance in Michigan

Think Twice - Feb 12, 2013

Publisher/Think Tank - Center for Research on Education Outcomes (CREDO) at Stanford University

Author(s) -

The CREDO researchers analyzed differences in student performance at charter schools and traditional public schools in Michigan. Charter advocates trumpeted the new CREDO Michigan study as a “smashing success” for charter schools.

Reviewer(s) - Andrew Maul, University of Colorado Boulder

Andrew Maul of the University of Colorado Boulder reviewed the report and found the study itself has both strong and weak elements. The new study estimates that students in charter schools in Michigan experience 0.06 standard deviations more academic growth than comparison students in traditional public schools. As Maul points out, “This is equivalent to saying that about a tenth of one percent of the variation in academic growth is associated with school type.” Such a finding of almost no difference between charters and non-charters is very much in line with the overall body of past research. Some studies suggest slight benefits, some suggest slight harm, and many show no difference. Maul goes on to point out “significant reasons for caution in interpreting the study’s results.”