Charter Public School Outcomes in High School & Beyond

High school and post-graduate achievement among Chicago’s charter public school students has generated extensive scholarship at many of the nation’s top research institutions in recent years — and a clear consensus has emerged: from performance on the ACT, to enrollment in very selective four-year universities, Chicago’s charter public schools are leading the way when it comes to preparing students for college.

  • According to CPS data on ACT scores, charter public schools made up seven of Chicago’s top-10 and 12 of Chicago’s top-15 highest performing open-enrollment public schools. In fact, although charter public schools enrolled only 24% of test takers, charter school students made up 51% of test takers at the 15 highest-performing non-selective public schools in Chicago.⁴
  • A 2018 Princeton University – Brookings Institution study found that attending Noble charter high schools — Chicago’s largest charter network — increased college enrollment by 13 percentage points. Most of this was driven by enrollment at four year, relatively selective institutions. Attending a Noble high school was also found to boost persistence in college, driving a 12 percentage point increase in attending four or more semesters of higher education.¹
  • A 2017 University of Chicago study found that attending a Chicago charter high school increased the likelihood of four-year college enrollment by 19 points and almost tripled the likelihood of enrolling in a very selective four year college. 45% of charter high school students analyzed in the study enrolled in a four-year college following graduation compared to 26% of similar students in local district schools, and 7.2% of charter students attended a very selective college compared to 2.2% of non-charter students.²
  • Charter public school graduates are 24 percent likelier to enroll in college compared to students who graduate from other public high schools in Chicago, according to official CPS data. 73.9% of charter school graduates enrolled in college following the 2016 school year, leading the district-run average of 59.8% by 14 points.⁵
  • A 2015 study co-authored by researchers from Harvard and The Wharton School found that Chicago’s charter public students achieve more than similar students in grades K-12, and that the advantages created by high-quality charter schools persist into adulthood. Tracking students who won the charter school lottery and enrolled in Noble high schools, the researchers determined that lottery winners were 26.0% likelier than other similar students to enroll in at least two semesters of college and 25.9% likelier to enroll in at least four semesters of college.³

1. The Future Of Children,” Princeton-Brookings, Winter 2018.

2. “Chicago’s Charter High Schools,” University of Chicago Consortium On School Research, November 2017.

3. “‘No Excuses’ Charter Schools And College Enrollment: New Evidence From A High School Network In Chicago,” September 5, 2015.

4. “Average ACT Scores – School Level,” Chicago Public Schools.

5. “2016 District College Enrollment,” Chicago Public Schools.¹

Join Us Today

Elevate Chicago School: