September 7, 2017

Gary Miron, (269) 599-7965,
Daniel J. Quinn, (517) 203-2940,

An academic review raises concerns about the practical utility of CREDO findings

EAST LANSING, Mich. (Sept. 7, 2017) — A recent report from the Center for Research on Educational Outcomes (CREDO) looked at the impact of charter school operating organizations. The report found that students in charter schools demonstrated slightly greater gains in performance than peers in traditional public schools, especially in charter schools operated by certain types of management organizations. An academic review out today highlights a number of concerns that have gone unaddressed.

Gary Miron and Christopher Shank, Western Michigan University, reviewed the report, Charter Management Organizations 2017, for the Think Twice think tank review project. Think Twice, a project of the National Education Policy Center (NEPC), is funded in part by the Great Lakes Center for Education Research and Practice.

According to the reviewers, the CREDO report contributes to an expansive body of existing research on charter schools by expanding on its prior work by exploring differences in charter school performance based on management organization type. Despite this, the report fails to build on prior research in creating its charter school classification system.

Miron and Shank note that the report uses confusing and illogical distinctions between organization types, which are arbitrary and unsupported by research. Additionally, the review calls into question other methodological decisions that threaten the validity of the study.

The reviewers identified several overarching problems that have been identified, including: (1) the report dramatically overstates its findings; (2) CREDO fails to address or acknowledge the report's methodological limitations; and (3) the report does not take into account other research beyond CREDO's own work.

As a result, Miron and Shank conclude that readers should use extreme caution when interpreting the results. They say, "The general findings from this study do not have relevance to policymakers."

Find the review on the GLC website:

Find the CREDO report at: FINAL.pdf

Think Twice, a project of the National Education Policy Center, provides the public, policymakers and the press with timely, academically sound reviews of selected publications. The project is made possible by funding from the Great Lakes Center for Education Research and Practice.

The review can also be found on the NEPC website:

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The mission of the Great Lakes Center for Education Research & Practice is to support and disseminate high quality research and reviews of research for the purpose of informing education policy and to develop research-based resources for use by those who advocate for education reform.

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