Nation’s Report Card: Arizona 8th grade charter students score among U.S. best

Arizona charter-school students continue their strong academic performance, according to the Nation’s Report Card, officially known as the National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP). 

Arizona 8th grade charter students performed especially well. In fact, if these charter attendees were grouped together as their own state, it would rank number 1 nationally in math and number 2 in reading. In both subject areas, Arizona 8th graders scored approximately one full grade level better than their district peers.

“State and federal testing has repeatedly demonstrated that Arizona charter schools and students consistently outperform their district counterparts, despite receiving nearly $2,000 less in per-pupil funding,” said Dr. Matthew Ladner, director of the Arizona Center for Student Opportunity. “The past few years have been difficult for all schools, but we applaud Arizona charter schools for continuing to raise the bar for student achievement in our state.” 

The NAEP exam is usually administered every other year to a random sample of 4th and 8th grade students in each state, but was suspended during the pandemic. Nationally, NAEP results indicate a significant loss in academic progress during the past few years – particularly in mathematics. In Arizona, NAEP scores for 4th grade mathematics and reading declined among both district and charter students. Overall, Arizona 4th and 8th graders attending district and charter schools performed at approximately the national average.

“Arizona charter schools helped lead our state’s academic recovery following the Great Recession,” Ladner said. “The challenges Arizona students now face are arguably even bigger now, but I am confident in the creativity, innovation and expertise of the charter sector to once again lead the way.” 

Arizona has approximately 560 public charter schools educating more than 230,000 students.

Robert Clarke

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