Improving Charter School Outcomes through Quality Authorizing

Improving Charter School Outcomes through Quality Authorizing

Under a three-year National Leadership Activities Grant from the U.S. Department of Education’s Charter School Program issued in 2015, the National Association of Charter School Authorizers (NACSA) aimed to achieve Better Outcomes through Quality Authorizing (BOQA).  The BOQA Project was grounded in the theory that improving authorizer practices will result in higher quality charter schools, in turn producing stronger student outcomes.  The project aimed to meet four key objectives:

  1. Increase understanding of the links between good authorizing practice and quality of charter school portfolios
  2. Improve authorizer practices
  3. Create strengthened authorizing standards, resources, and adoption strategies
  4. Disseminate standards, resources, and solutions to challenges

Our researchers conducted a rigorous mixed methods program evaluation using varied data sources (surveys, interviews, observations, focus groups, document review) to analyze progress toward performance measures associated with each key objective of the BOQA Project. The evaluation was designed to determine the extent to which program objectives were being met during each year of application; investigate implementation barriers in order to guide real-time adjustments; understand and improve program impact on authorizers; and contribute to research, practice, and policy at state and national levels. The Year 3 program evaluation report provided NACSA with a summary of accomplishments toward their project goals and a description of plans for the grant extension year.

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