This article was originally published in The Notebook. In August 2020, The Notebook became Chalkbeat Philadelphia.
A new study by Research for Action has found that Pennsylvania’s cyber-charter sector continues to yield subpar results on the state’s standardized tests.
Using the state’s recently released school performance profile data for 2013-14, RFA found the average School Performance Profile score for the cyber-charter sector was 48.9 – well below the averages for the state’s brick-and-mortar charters and traditional public schools.
To date, no cyber charter has earned a SPP of 70 or higher, the state Department of Education’s quality threshold.
The department is now reviewing three applications for new cyber charters. Last year the department rejected eight applicants.
Although the report says the School Performance Profile system is "suspect due to its heavy reliance on test scores that are highly correlated with socioeconomic characteristics," it notes that cybers perform poorly even when compared with the state’s most impoverished public schools.
"Even when you compare the cyber charters to high-poverty traditional schools and high-poverty charter schools, they still underperform," said Kate Shaw, RFA’s executive director.