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Better Scores Found Among N.Y. Charter Students

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Students who entered lotteries and won spots in New York City charter schools performed better on state exams than students who entered the same lotteries but did not secure charter school seats, according to a study by a Stanford University economist reported in the New York Times.

Charter schools, which are privately run but publicly financed, have been faring well on standardized tests in recent years. But skeptics have discounted their success by accusing them of “creaming” the best students, saying that the most motivated students and engaged parents are the ones who apply for the spots.

The study’s methodology addresses that issue by comparing charter school students with students of traditional schools who applied for charter spots but did not get them. Most of the city’s 99 charter schools admit students by lottery. By the third grade, according to the study, the average charter school student was 5.3 points ahead on state exams in English compared with students who were not admitted to the charter schools. In math, the students were 5.8 points ahead. Most tests are scored on a scale of roughly 475 to 800.

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