Measuring Charter School Accountability

Measuring Charter School Accountability

Author: 
Deanna Townsend-Smith
Program of study: 
Ed.D./CI
Abstract: 
Many charter schools in the United States have been closed for inadequate student performance on test scores despite data that indicated test scores had improved. Determining charter school performance was difficult for authorizing agencies because charter school performance was often compared to their traditional public school counterparts. Charter school authorizers have not developed a systematic approach to measure student performance in a way that acknowledges the unique nature of charter schools. Using a correlation design, the study detected associations between variables about student performance on the North Carolina End of Grade Test (EOG) and the Northwest Evaluation Association’s Measurement of Academic Progress (NEWEA) from two urban charter schools in eastern North Carolina. Student data from 2007-2009 was used, and 379 student records were included. Variables under study included gender, grade level performance, socioeconomic status, and student tenure. Inferential statistics were used to draw conclusions from the sample tested. The Statistical Package for the Social Sciences (SPSS) version 19 was used to code and tabulate scores and provide summarized values where applicable. Descriptive statistics including frequency counts and percent statistics were computed for the demographic variables. Results indicated that current accountability testing did not measure student performance accurately. Recommendations stemming from the results include the use of a combined assessment for charter schools that would include the use of the mandated assessment instrument in combination with an additional assessment that is capable of gauging academic growth over the course of a school year to provide a more holistic perspective on student academic performance in charter schools.
Dedication: 
This dissertation is dedicated to my late grandparents, Vernice and David Townsend, who instilled in me the value of hard work and believing in oneself to achieve goals in life. My grandparents loved me and always encouraged me to go for my dreams. Without their love and support, this dream would not have been realized.
Acknowledgements: 
First, I would like to thank God for giving me the energy and ability to complete this task. The years it took to complete this journey were filled with many ups and downs; however, by the grace of God I made it through victoriously. I would also like to express many thanks to my mentor, Dr. Richard DeParis. Dr. Rich helped to guide me through the process and taught me the true value of patience. In addition, thanks goes to my committee members, Dr. James McTyre and Dr. Natacha Billups for providing alternate perspectives, helpful suggestions, and paying attention to detail. I want to thank the individuals who took the time to listen to me vent, took time to read, offer advice, or even edit during this process. Thanks to the organization who allowed me to use data to complete this project. Without the data, the project would be incomplete. Thanks to my family and friends for understanding when I could not attend an event, talk on the telephone, or spend time with you. Finally, I would like to thank my husband who is the love of my life, always in my corner, and encouraged me to complete the journey when I wanted to give up. No matter how small, I appreciate everyone who helped me through this journey.