What does it mean to measure student growth?
It all depends on what kind of learning growth you’re talking about. At home, parents might use a chart to keep track of how many inches their child grows each year. In schools and in education policy, educators deploy a range of methods on a daily, weekly, monthly, and yearly basis, to determine what—and how much—students are learning over time. They can include anything from real-time teaching techniques, like checking for student understanding, to formative assessments such as end-of-day exit slips, to larger scale assessments like NWEA’s nationally-normed MAP Growth. In all cases, we believe in a key principle, which is to start with the student: Measuring growth is about understanding each student’s ‘starting point’ and assessing how much they’ve learned against that benchmark over time.
As the Data Quality Campaign shows in a new report, how it’s done at the state-level as part of the Every Student Succeeds Act, “it’s complicated.” States are using at least five different growth measures and each one is designed to show very different points.
In this resource guide, we’ll try to make sense of the confusing pieces while showcasing best practices.