Arizona Charter Students Top Nation’s Report Card in Science

Arizona charter school students registered substantial gains on the 2015 National Assessment of Educational Progress science assessment, and results show charter students significantly outperforming district peers across the state.

For the fourth-grade NAEP exam, scores for Arizona charter students increased an astounding 21 points since the last time the test was given in 2009; scores among eighth-grade charter students increased 18 points.

“Arizona’s charter model continues to set a national example of excellence,” said Eileen B. Sigmund, Arizona Charter Schools Association President and CEO. “Strong science education is vitally important for the future of our country and our economy. These results are a direct response to the excellent teachers and leaders supporting Arizona’s charter students.”

For the sake of comparison, if Arizona charter students were isolated and measured as their own state, their scores on the 2015 NAEP science test would rank among the top states in the country. On the eighth-grade science test, Arizona charter students would rank as the fourth highest-scoring state nationally, trailing only Utah, New Hampshire and Vermont. For fourth-grade science, Arizona charter students would rank eighth in the country.

These NAEP results are even more impressive when you consider Arizona as a state – including both charters AND districts – scored no better than 40th (out of 46 states participating) among fourth-graders and 41st among eighth-graders.

Thursday’s NAEP results are just the latest data to demonstrate the impressive performance of Arizona charter students. Earlier this year, the NAEP exam for reading and math showed charter students topping their district peers in Arizona and registering some of the top cumulative scores in the country. On the eighth-grade math assessment, for example, Arizona charter students – if measured as their own state – scored on-par with the top performer nationally: Massachusetts. You can find more reading and math results here.

Arizona is home to 548 charter schools serving about 170,000 students. That’s nearly 30 percent of Arizona’s public schools. Signed into law in 1994, Arizona’s charter schools are public schools that are innovative while still being held accountable for improved student achievement.