Charter Schools Closing in on State Averages on Third Year of PARCC Testing: Newark Charters Outperform State Average in Math

New Jersey charter schools continue to narrow the achievement gap on the third year of Partnership for Assessment of Readiness for College and Careers (PARCC) exams based on data released this fall from the New Jersey Department of Education for the 2016-17 school year.

“The release of PARCC scores confirms what we have known about New Jersey’s charter schools: they are closing the achievement gap for economically disadvantaged students and in some cases, outperforming the state’s more affluent communities,” said Nicole D. Cole, Esq., President and CEO of the New Jersey Charter Schools Association.

Across the state, both traditional district and public charter schools made improvements in both English language arts (ELA) and mathematics.  ELA proficiency rates for charter elementary and middle schools outpaced comparative districts by 15.5 percentage points and charter math proficiency rates outpaced districts by 13.5 percentage points. “We recognize that there is more work to be done to ensure that every student is able to meet and exceed the standards assessed  in the PARCC exams.  However, we are proud New Jersey’s charter schools continue to significantly outpace comparative districts in both ELA and math,” said Cole.

Charter elementary and middle schools have significantly closed the gap against the state average over the last six years. In 2012, the ELA proficiency gap was 13.1 percentage points compared to 4.2 percentage points in 2017. In 2012, the math proficiency gap was 10.2 percentage points compared to 4.4 percentage points in 2017.

The 2017 PARCC results continue to demonstrate the remarkable progress for students in Newark charter schools. In 2017, Newark charters in grades 3-8 outperformed the state average in mathematics and were even with the state average in ELA.

NJCSA’s recently released report 20 Years of New Jersey Charter Schools: A State of the Sector Report – Part I, highlights charter schools in the five cities with the largest charter school enrollment: Newark, Camden, Trenton, Jersey City, and Paterson. Some of these schools have produced incredible, breakthrough results for their students. Despite serving a significantly higher portion of educationally disadvantaged students compared to the state, the following schools in these cities outperformed state averages in ELA and mathematics:

  • Discovery Charter School
  • North Star Academy Charter School
  • John P. Holland Charter School
  • Environment Community Opportunity Charter School
  • Robert Treat Academy Charter School
  • Gray Charter School
  • Soaring Heights Charter School
  • Maria L. Varisco-Rogers Charter School

We will continue to work with our schools to ensure New Jersey’s charter schools fulfill their missions, not only in achieving excellence as defined by standardized assessments, but also in preparing every child for college, career, and life,” Cole said.

(This is a press release from the the New Jersey Charter Schools Association (NJCSA), a statewide association representing the state’s charter sector. New Jersey is home to 89 charter schools, serving more than 50,000 children. NJCSA was formed in 1999 and today is charged with advancing a quality public education for New Jersey’s children through quality public charter schools. Our vision is that every child in the State of New Jersey has the opportunity to attend a high quality public school that best meets his or her needs. For more information, visit





Laura Waters

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