A new Stanford University study finds New Jersey charter schools significantly outperform their public school peers with similar backgrounds on most standardized tests.

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The study was done of grades 3 through 8 by the Center for Research on Education Outcomes (CREDO) at Stanford University. The big charter school gains were measured in reading and mathematics, the two staples of the learning process.  CREDO found charter school students in New Jersey on average gain an additional two months of learning each year in reading, and an additional three months of annual learning in math, versus traditional public schools.

Also, CREDO found big differences on averages for urban charter schools in the state when compared to their urban public school counterparts.

In a statement released earlier today, Education Commissioner Chris Cerf said, "The Center for Research on Education Outcomes’ (CREDO) rigorous, independent analysis of the achievement results of charter schools in New Jersey shows that the results are clear – on the whole, New Jersey charter school students make larger learning gains in both reading and math than their traditional public school peers. This is especially true for minority students and low-income students, with some of the largest gains in Newark, demonstrating that charter schools, on the whole, are providing much needed options for New Jersey students. This study also makes clear that the charter accountability and authorizing process matters – it is not simply about the quantity of schools, it’s about the quality of schools we approve and the standards to which we hold them while they are operating."

Carlos Perez, Executive Director of the New Jersey Association of Charter Schools said, "The ultimate heart of Charter schools in New Jersey is a process where students, teachers and parents are deeply involved in the decision making process for the how students learn."

The review by Stanford's Center for Research on Education Outcomes is the first in-depth, independent study of its kind of New Jersey charter schools.

(The Associated Press contributed to this story)