An analysis of the 2017 state assessments used to measure 3rd grade reading comprehension, revealed that performance among charter students is outpacing the performance of their counterparts in the School District of Philadelphia (SDP), according to Philadelphia Charters for Excellence (PCE).
Based on data collected by the Pennsylvania Department of Education, 50 percent of Philadelphia’s 3rd grade students in charter schools were able to demonstrate grade level proficiency on the 3rd Grade English Language Arts (ELA) Pennsylvania System of School Assessment (PSSA). By contrast, just 35 percent of 3rd graders in SDP schools were able to demonstrate grade-level reading proficiency.
“The results from last year’s assessments demonstrate once again that Charter schools continue to outperform traditional District schools in terms of teaching children to read,” said Laurada Byers, co-founder of Russell Byers Charter School and board chair of PCE. “More than anything else, the results make clear that charter schools provide high-quality options for Philadelphia students, and they are and must be an essential part of the future of public education in our city.”
Of the 204 Philadelphia schools that administered the 3rd Grade ELA PSSA last year, 146 were SDP schools and 58 were charter schools (including 15 Renaissance Charters, which are former District schools that are being run as charter schools).
PCE’s analysis of the data showed that 71 percent of all Philadelphia charter schools finished in the top half of the 204 public schools reporting results, as compared to 41 percent of all SDP schools.
Similarly, 43 percent of all charters finished in the top 50 schools citywide, while only 17 percent of District schools scored at a similar level.
“Ensuring that our youngest students are able to read is one of the greatest responsibilities we have as teachers and school leaders,” said Byers. “By championing the need for reading proficiency by the end of 3rd grade, Charter schools are maximizing the potential of their students to learn and succeed in the future.”