AzMERIT results show that charters educate all students

By Jamar Younger

Arizona’s public charter students have outperformed their peers for the past three years, topping state and national indicators of academic success.

This year, charter students once again scored higher than the state average in virtually every grade level and subject area on the state’s AzMERIT test for the third straight year, according to results released by the Arizona Department of Education on Sept. 6.

Despite these accomplishments, Arizona’s charter performance is usually met with the skepticism of those who believe charters don’t cater to all students, notably minority and underserved youth.

It’s time to retire that stereotype.

Students across all demographics see higher outcomes on AzMERIT when enrolled in charter schools. In fact, for the last three years, public charter students in all racial and ethnic groups outperformed the state average on AzMERIT for their group in math and English.

It’s worth noting that Arizona’s charter schools serve a ”majority minority” student population, with non-white students comprising 55 percent of those enrolled in charters. In addition, about 20 percent of public charter schools are alternative schools, which cater to dropout, homeless and over-aged students.

In English, 35 percent of African American charter students passed the 2017 AzMERIT exam, surpassing the state average of 28 percent for that student group. Black students in school districts passed at a rate of 26 percent.

Asian charter students showed the biggest gains in English and math scores when compared to the state average for Asian students, scoring 12 percentage points higher in ELA than their peers and 11 points better in math. Native American charter students also fared better than their non-charter counterparts on AzMERIT.

In addition, charter students from other underserved groups outperformed the state average for their peer groups on the exam.

Students who are homeless, economically disadvantaged, have limited English proficiency and those with disabilities scored higher than their peers on the English and math exams.

These results are significant and show public charter students of all backgrounds are receiving a quality education.

It’s time to acknowledge that Arizona charter schools work for all students.


2017 AzMERIT Performance by Racial/Ethnic Group
2017 AzMERIT Performance by Subgroup
2015-2017 AzMERIT Performance by All Demographic Subgroups

Use the filters (on right) in the interactive tool below to compare pass rates by demographic group over the past three years. Hover over the lines to see a specific year’s pass rate data.