Massachusetts Charter Schools
Massachusetts Charter School Waitlist Report for 2015-2016
This annual report provides information regarding students on charter school waitlists for admission for the 2015-2016 school year. For more information on waitlist policy and procedures and the number of students found on previous cycles of charter school waitlists, see Charter Schools' Pre-Enrollment and Waitlist Data.
The Department of Elementary and Secondary Education (Department) requested the submission of 2015-2016 waitlist data by March 16, 2015. 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-five of the 83 charter schools submitted data. Of the eight charter schools that did not submit data, seven did not have a sufficient number of applicants to require a waitlist. The remaining school has an extended planning period and is set to open in FY17.
The Office of Charter School and School Redesign (OCSSR) conducted a preliminary review of submitted charter school waitlist data to identify data errors, such as duplicate records, transposition of digits in dates of birth1, and other obvious data entry errors. If waitlist data errors were found, charter schools were asked to resubmit after addressing the identified data concerns. The Department's Education Data Services Office then conducted the matching process, using students' names (first, middle, last), dates of birth, towns of residence, and grades.
The 75 waitlists that were submitted contained 49,444 entries, distributed by grade as shown in this table:
|Grade||Number of Students|
The matching process identified 37,470 students within the 49,444 entries. Of these 37,470 students, 5,819 students (15.5%) 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)
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 carry their waitlists from one year to the next, so that students can remain on the waitlist for several years.2 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.
This report will be updated in the fall after October 1, 2015. The Department has implemented a few changes to this round's collection process to achieve as accurate a matching process as possible. Nevertheless, the Department will continue to exploring other methods for collecting waitlist information due to the current collection process requiring 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:
- the total and unduplicated numbers of students on waitlists;
- the total number of students on waitlists by grade;
- the total and unduplicated numbers of students on waitlists for charter schools by city\town;
- the total number of students on waitlists for each charter school;
- the total number of students on waitlists for each charter school by grade;
- the total number of students on waitlists for each charter school by city/town;
- the total number of students on waitlists for each city/town by charter school;
- the total number of students on waitlists for each city/town by grade;
- the total number of students on waitlists for each grade by city/town;
- the total number of students on waitlists for each charter school by city/town by grade;
- the total number of students on waitlists for each city/town by grade by charter school; and
- 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 firstname.lastname@example.org or the Office of Charter Schools and School Redesign at email@example.com.
1 It is likely that at least some matches were not identified due to less obvious transcription or data entry errors.
2 Changes to the charter school regulations were adopted in March 2014 by the Board of Elementary and Secondary Education (see 603 CMR 1.05(10)(a)), which has affected how charter schools collect waitlist data. Under the amended regulations, charter schools shall maintain waitlists only for the school year for which the students applied (i.e., carrying over student names from new enrollment lotteries from one year to another is no longer be permitted). Provided that a charter school may choose to maintain any waitlists that were established prior to March 31, 2014 until such waitlists are exhausted, provided that such maintenance is clearly articulated in the school's enrollment policy approved by the Department. Please note that the decrease in the total number of students on waitlists statewide when compared to data reported in March 2014 is likely due to the implementation of this new requirement at several charter schools. The Department is in the process of confirming this with individual schools with large decreases.