This report begins with a focus on applications to charter schools. While much attention has been focused on charter school waitlists, waitlist data can be misleading. It includes duplicates, but also includes waitlists that have been rolled over from year to year and might be an unrealistic measure of demand. Instead, the authors investigate three factors related to demand: the yearly percentage of each middle school and high school class that applies to a charter in our lottery sample; the percentage of applicants that receive an offer from a charter school; and where students ultimately attend. This report also examines the demographic makeup of charter school enrollees and compare it to BPS.
The next section follows the path of charter school students and report their performance in charters using the evidence from the lotteries. The lottery sample now covers many more charter schools. The 2009 report included findings from eight schools. This report includes MCAS results through 2012 from 12 schools and many more cohorts from the original schools, with additional newly opened schools contributing to the demand analysis. In addition to updating the test score results from the 2009 report, this report breaks down the test score effects by student subgroups. Trends are investigated over time in charter performance and by school groups.
Finally, this report gives results using statistical controls, which allow the authros to estimate effects for attending charter schools that do not have sufficient lottery records for the more rigorous lottery based analysis. The lottery sample now contains almost all Boston charter schools with entry grades at middle or high school.