Oakland Charter High Schools Are a Bright Spot in State Test Results

September 19, 2013

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Charter schools located in Oakland Unified School District (OUSD) are a bright spot, according to the most recent academic performance results released by the California State Department of Education (CDE). The Academic Performance Index (API) is California's primary accountability metric for schools, with the statewide goal for all schools set at 800 on the state's 1,000 point scale.

On average, charter schools in OUSD outperform OUSD traditional public schools by 52 API points, averaging a 780 API to the district average of 728.


This analysis includes 39 charter public schools located within the boundaries of OUSD as of the 2012-13 school year, compared to the 80 traditional district schools. CCSA's data team divided the schools by grade-level for a more accurate comparison and also looked at how various subgroups performed compared to the district average.

Charter High Schools Excel

The most exciting finding is that the 14 charter high schools in Oakland are truly excelling. The average charter high school API is 751 vs. an average of 588 for the 12 district high schools. Of the top 10 high schools in Oakland based on API, nine are charter schools.

Charter elementary schools (n=21) perform about on par with OUSD traditional elementary schools (770 average for charter schools vs. 771 for district schools). There are only four charter middle schools in Oakland, which are excelling with an average API of 933.

Out-performing for All Student Subgroups

Oakland charter schools are outperforming with every key subgroup. The charter schools are producing incredible results, scoring much higher APIs than traditional district schools for each of these subgroups:

  • +56 - African American
  • +48 - Socioeconomically Disadvantaged
  • +53 - Latino
  • +38 - English Learners

This analysis included all schools physically located within the school district boundaries (including those authorized by county offices of education or the State Board of Education). This excludes schools operating under the Alternative Schools Accountability Model (ASAM) and special education centers.

Chinese-English Dual Immersion School Shows Strong Start

Yu Ming Charter School, which opened in fall 2011, had an API score of 944 for its inaugural year of standardized testing. This score placed it among the top schools in the entire state, tremendously exciting for a new school.

Charter Schools in Oakland

Oakland charter schools have high performance in common, but they are diverse in their approach. They include small, grassroots start-up schools, district schools that converted into charter schools, a military academy, an arts academy, a Chinese-English dual-immersion program and more.

Learn more in this video about the evolution and impact of charter schools in Oakland.