Charter schools are relatively new and are not without controversy. The purpose of this study is to understand how the people most affected by the development of charter schools (the students) feel about them. After a literature search and hypothesis development we created a self report measurement instrument based on the Likert scale asking about the education experiences of recent high school graduates from public, charter and private schools in our local area. 47 surveys were distributed using eight questions in four major areas: Perceptions of education quality, preparation for college, ratings of academic challenge and ratings of satisfaction of experience. Data was subsequently entered into SPSS software, coded and statistics were generated using a 3 way ANOVA to complete analysis.
Our results indicate that the educational experiences of high school students we interviewed were similar in ratings for life/college preparation, academic challenge and overall satisfaction but perceived quality among private and charter schools students rated significantly higher than those of public schools.
In conclusion there is not a large variety of literature on the topic of charter school efficacy from the student perspective. More research is needed. This study is limited due to the small sample size and lack of a standardized instrument.
- Likert Scale: A commonly used psychometric scale that measures variations of qualitative data that can then be converted into quantitative data for statistical analysis.
- Public School: A school supported by public funds.
- Private School: a school supported by a private organization or private individuals rather than by municipal fees and taxes.
- Charter School: A publicly funded independent school established by teachers, parents, or community groups under the terms of a legally binding contract or charter with a local or national authority.