Do Charter Middle Schools Improve Students' College Outcomes? (Evaluation Brief)

Publisher: Washington, DC: U.S. Department of Education, Institute of Education Sciences, National Center for Education Evaluation and Regional Assistance
Apr 02, 2019
Authors
Kate Place and Philip Gleason

Key Findings:

  • Being admitted to a charter middle school in the study did not affect students’ chances of enrolling in or completing college.
  • Individual charter middle schools’ success in improving students’ middle school achievement was not related to their success in improving students’ college enrollment and completion.

The charter school sector plays an important role in efforts to reform the education system and better serve the nation’s public school students. To help understand this role, more than a decade ago the National Evaluation of Charter Middle Schools examined how admission to about 30 charter middle schools affected students’ achievement. On average, there were no significant effects. However, some charter middle schools in the study were successful in improving achievement, including those in urban areas and serving economically disadvantaged students – features of many charter schools today. This brief examines if the charter middle schools included in the National Evaluation affected students’ college enrollment and completion and the relationship between each school’s earlier achievement results and these important longer-term outcomes.