DETROIT — Standardized test scores show that many Detroit area charter public high schools are not performing any better academically than the district’s own high schools, The Detroit News reported.

The News analyzed test data from the most recent Michigan Merit Exam and concluded that only six of the 25 charter schools it examined had higher math and science proficiency scores than DPS averages.

Charter school leaders and others interviewed by The News said that the results are only part of a larger picture. One question is whether some charter schools serve large numbers of students who otherwise would have dropped out altogether or who were behind academically when they enrolled, The News reported. A Stanford University study showed that charter schools are more successful at elementary levels than in high schools, according to The News.

Detroit Public Schools already operates five charter school campuses and is planning to turn over operations of five more schools to charter operators, The News reported. A spokeswoman told The News that the test analyses shows the importance of only working with charter school operators with a proven record of success.

The Detroit News, “Charter high schools in Detroit not making grade,” July 7, 2011

Mackinac Center for Public Policy, “Measuring Charter Public School Performance,” July 8, 2011