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Massachusetts Charter Schools

Massachusetts Charter School Waitlist Updated Report for 2014-2015

Each spring, every charter school reports to the Department the number of students admitted for the following school year and the number of students on the school's waitlist. As indicated in the May 2014 report and appendix Download Excel Document, the information provided below is the update regarding students on charter school waitlists for admission for the 2014-2015 school year. In that May 2014 report, 76 out of 84 charter schools reported 58,906 entries, with 44,876 unique students. For more information on waitlist policy and procedures and the number of students found on previous cycles of charter school waitlists, see Pre-Enrollment and Waitlist Data webpage.

For this updated waitlist report, the Department requested the submission of 2014-2015 waitlist data as of October 1, 2014 by November 14, 2014. Charter school waitlist data are recorded and maintained through each school's own mechanisms, separate from their student information management systems (SIMs). Accordingly, the Department collected the data through the upload of spreadsheet files using its security portal. Seventy-four of the 811 charter schools submitted data. Of the seven charter schools that did not submit data, six charter schools did not have a sufficient number of applicants to require a waitlist. The remaining charter school has an extended planning period and is set to open FY16.

The Department's Education Data Services Office conducted the matching process, using students' names (first, middle, last), dates of birth, towns of residence, and grades. Partial matches were manually reviewed to identify obvious data entry errors, such as transposition of digits in dates of birth2.

The 74 waitlists that were matched contained 51,025 entries, distributed by grade as shown in this table:

GradeNumber of Students
PK3,106
K6,135
15,027
25,231
35,077
43,841
55,178
65,350
73,807
82,960
92,676
101,179
11940
12515
No grade33
Total51,025

The matching process identified 41,747 students within the 51,025 entries. Of these 41,747 students, 5,574 students (13.4%) appeared on more than one waitlist:

Number of Students (N)Number of Waitlists A
Student Appears On (W)
Total Entries of All
Waitlists (W * N)
36,173136,173
3,45026,900
1,25233,756
48841,952
1925960
1066636
547378
238184
6954
11010
21122
41,747Total51,025

It is important to note that not every student on a charter school waitlist would accept an offer of admission if it were proffered. Some students may have been admitted to other schools that meet their needs, while others may be reluctant to switch schools after the beginning of the school year. Therefore, the number of students found on each charter school's waitlist may not accurately represent the number of students actively waiting for enrollment to that school. This is particularly true for those charter schools that choose to carry their waitlists from one year to the next, so that students can remain on the waitlist for several years.4 It is impossible to quantify this factor without making speculative and arbitrary assumptions, which we have chosen not to do. As a result, the unduplicated waitlist counts should be taken as rough approximations of demand rather than exact numbers.

The Department continues to explore other methods for collecting waitlist information because the current collection process requires significant resources from both the charter schools and the Department.

The appendix to this report can be found in the attached Excel file, which contains:

  1. the total and unduplicated numbers of students on waitlists;
  2. the total number of students on waitlists by grade;
  3. the total and unduplicated numbers of students on waitlists for charter schools by city\town;
  4. the total number of students on waitlists for each charter school;
  5. the total number of students on waitlists for each charter school by grade;
  6. the total number of students on waitlists for each charter school by city/town;
  7. the total number of students on waitlists for each city/town by charter school;
  8. the total number of students on waitlists for each charter school by city/town by grade;
  9. the total number of students on waitlists for each city/town by grade by charter school; and
  10. the total number of students on waitlists for each charter school by grade by city/town.

For further information regarding this report, please contact Brenton Stewart at bstewart@doe.mass.edu or the Office of Charter Schools and School Redesign at charterschools@doe.mass.edu.

Attachment

Download Excel Document
FY15 Updated Waitlist Appendix

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Last Updated: February 6, 2015
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