When considered side by side with other information, including proficiency measures, growth data provides a more comprehensive picture of student learning and a better indication of students’ progress than a onetime test score alone. Growth measures give state and local leaders a more complete picture of school quality. However, measures of student growth are not created equal. Different approaches to measurement answer different questions and tell different stories about what is happening in schools and classrooms.
During the COVID-19 pandemic, growth remains the most comprehensive and equitable way to measure student progress and school quality. States can and should continue to measure student growth in 2021. Growth data will be crucial to understanding how school closures due to COVID-19 have affected student progress and what supports they will need to get back on track.
This page showcases resources that leaders, families, and communities can use to better understand growth data and why it matters.
Understanding Growth Data
Growth Data: It Matters, and It’s Complicated: Forty-eight states and the District of Columbia have committed to measuring and reporting individual student growth under ESSA. This means everyone in those states—from parents to policymakers—will have more information than before on student performance and school quality. But the questions they’ll be able to answer depend on how states measure growth. This brief explores the different ways states have committed to measuring student growth and what that means for education stakeholders and their understanding of student success.
Parents Deserve Clear Information About Student Growth in Schools: As important partners in student and school performance, parents deserve to be empowered with student academic growth. With this information, parents are equipped to better advocate for their students and schools by understanding how learning is changing over time. To help put growth data to work, DQC and the National PTA created a brief that outlines what parents need to know about this information.
Measuring Student Growth in 2021
Measuring Growth in 2021: What State Leaders Need to Know: States can and should continue to measure student growth in 2021; to do so, state leaders should start preparing now. This resource from the Data Quality Campaign, Alliance for Excellent Education and Collaborative for Student Success outlines considerations for measuring growth when missing annual assessment data for the prior year, discusses uses of this data, and lays out actions states can take right now to measure growth in 2021.
Thinking Creatively to Evaluate Student Learning During COVID-19: Vital Insights Using Skip-Year Growth: This is the first installment of a two-part webinar series on measuring student growth during these unprecedented times, co-hosted by the Hunt Institute and DQC. Panelists included DQC Board Chair Tomeka Hart, Rob Curtin of the Massachusetts Department of Elementary and Secondary Education, Dr. Juan D’Brot of the Center for Assessment, and Marie Huchton of the Colorado Department of Education.