Site Index | CDE Offices | Staff Directory

 

* * CDE will be closed on Thursday, Nov. 23 and Friday, Nov. 24 for the Thanksgiving holiday. * *

News Release - Colorado charter school demographics, academic performance studied in triennial report

July 15, 2016

Colorado charter school demographics, academic performance studied in triennial report

DENVER – A triennial report on Colorado’s charter schools found an increasingly larger number of students enrolling in charter schools and that the schools generally outperform non-charter schools on state performance measures, even with disadvantaged subgroups of students.

However, the report also found that while charter schools serve populations more similar to state averages than in years past, they continue to lag behind in the enrollment of students with disabilities. And teachers and administrators earn less than their peers in non-charter settings.

The State of Charter Schools in Colorado, 2016, report is mandated by law (CRS 22-30.5-113) that requires the Colorado Department of Education to prepare a report every three years on the state’s charter schools, how they are faring, how their relationship is to other school reform efforts and offer recommended changes to strengthen or change the state’s charter school program.

The 2016 report uses the most recently available data, including 2015-16 demographic information and 2013-14 performance data along with data from the 2014-15 statewide assessments. The report that was given to the legislature and governor’s office looks deeply into the history of charters; the context of the charter sector in Colorado; characteristics of the schools, their students and staff; the performance of charter schools compared to non-charters; and how they are preparing students for careers or college after high school.

The report recommends more research to understand the disproportionately lower number of students with disabilities. It also suggests research into the disparities in charter school performance on postsecondary and workforce readiness measures.

 Highlights from the report:

  • Charters continue to serve an increasing larger number and share of students. For the 2015-16 school year, 226 charter schools operated in Colorado, serving 108,793 students in grades preschool through 12th grade. That represents a 30.3 increase from the 83,478 students counted in the 2013 report.

  • Charters are seeing lower student mobility rates. The average student mobility rate in charters was 18 percent for the 2014-15 school year, comparted to 39 percent from 2011-12.

  • Charters serve a population more similar to state averages but still lag behind in serving students with disabilities.

    •  In 2015-16, charters served 51,052 racial/ethnic minorities, representing 46.9 percent of the total charter population and higher than the state average of 45.7 percent minorities in non-charter schools.

    • In 2015-16, charters served 39,057 students eligible for free and reduced meals (an indicator of poverty), representing 35.9 percent of the total charter population compared to the state average of 41.8 percent in non-charters. But that figure has steadily grown over the years, cutting the gap in half between 2008 to 2016.

    • Students with disabilities represented 8 percent of the total charter school population in 2015-16 with 6.3 percent of students needing special education support. The non-charter school population has 12.7 percent of students with disabilities and 10.3 percent in special education programs.

  • Teachers and administrators earn less in charter schools than their peers in non-charters.

    • The average teacher salary in charter schools in 2015-16 was $39,052. The average salary in the respective districts was $54,465 – a gap of $15,413.

    • The average administrator salary in charter schools in 2015-16 was $72,453. The average administrator salary in the respective districts was $89,685 – a gap of $17,232.

  • Charter school students generally outperformed students in non-charter schools on state performance measures, including the Colorado Measures of Academic Success assessments first administered in 2015.  CMAS includes science and social studies tests developed in Colorado as well as the English language arts and math tests developed in collaboration with a consortium of states known as the Partnership for the Assessment of Readiness for College and Career.

    • 2015 PARCC English language arts: Over all of the grades, 43.7 percent of charter students met or exceeded their grade-level benchmarks compared to 38.2 percent of non-charter students.

    • 2015 PARCC Math: Over all the grades, 34.2 percent of charter students met or exceeded grade-level benchmarks compared to 29.6 percent for non-charter students. However, in fifth grade, non-charter students fared better with 30.2 percent of non-charter students meeting or exceeding benchmarks compared to 29 percent of charter students.

    • 2015 CMAS Science: Overall, charter students outperformed non-charter students in the science test with 33.7 percent of charter students meeting or exceeding grade-level benchmarks, compared to 31.9 percent of non-charter students. However, fifth-grade charter students fared worse than their non-charter peers, with 34.2 percent of charter students meeting or exceeding benchmarks compared to 34.9 percent non-charter students.

    • 2015 CMAS Social Studies:  Overall, charter school students outperformed their non-charter peers in the science test, with 20.5 charter students meeting or exceeding grade-level benchmarks. However, fourth-grade charter students fared worse than their non-charter peers with 19.9 percent of charter students meeting or exceeding benchmarks compared to 22.1 percent for non-charter students.

  • Charter schools in aggregate have a significantly lower graduation rate than non-charter schools. For the four-year graduation rate (percentage of ninth-graders graduating in four years), 47.77 percent of charter school students in 2014 graduated on time compared to 79.98 percent of non-charter school students. This rate, however, is skewed by the disproportionate number of charter schools that fall into the online and alternative education campus category than non-charters.

Quick Links

 

Contact Us

Colorado Dept. of Education
201 East Colfax Ave.
Denver, CO 80203
Phone: 303-866-6600
Fax: 303-830-0793
Contact CDE

CDE Hours
Mon - Fri 8 a.m. to 5 p.m.
See also: Licensing Hours

Educator Licensing 

WCC Access