Date of Award


Degree Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Education (EdD)


Educational Policy Studies

First Advisor

Nicholas Sauers

Second Advisor

Yinying Wang

Third Advisor

Robert Hendrick


Georgia Charter School Act of 1998 intends to increase student achievement through academic and organizational innovations, and increased flexibility granted to charter schools. With the legislative intent in mind, the primary purpose of this study is to investigate the extent to which student achievement in elementary schools, middle schools, and high schools differ across the Georgia start-up charter schools and charter system schools as measured by the achievement, progress, and achievement gap scores of 2014 Georgia’s College and Career Ready Performance Index (CCRPI). The data set, which is publicly available on the Governor’s Office of Student Achievement website and Georgia Department of Education (GADOE) website, includes 87 start-up charter schools and 265 charter system schools in operation during the school year 2013-14 as reported by the GADOE Office of District Flexibility and Governmental Affairs.

Informed by the legislative intent for the Georgia charter school law, the review of the literature conducted for this study examined innovations and increased autonomy in charter schools followed by the student achievement studies involving charter schools across the nation. The method of Factorial Analysis of Variance (ANOVA) was performed to analyze the data, following the selection of the sample through propensity score matching procedure. The Factorial ANOVA procedure revealed no significant differences between the mean scores for charter system schools and start-up charter schools as far as the achievement, progress, and achievement gap components of the 2014 CCRPI are concerned. This result led to the conclusion that start-up charter schools and charter system schools fulfill their legislative obligation of increasing student achievement to a similar extent.

This study contributes to the policy and political dialog surrounding charter schools. Results from the analysis will: (a) reveal which type of charter school fulfills statutory obligations of increasing student achievement more effectively, (b) inform legislators in adopting new laws or revising current laws regarding school choice options, (c) help leaders of charter systems decide whether to introduce or expand start-up charter school offerings in their district portfolios, and (d) help parents choose the best school option among those available.