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Posted: July 26, 2014 10:00 p.m.

State releases Student Growth Model

Public can visually explore progress in depth through online tool

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For those parents, students and teachers who want to see a different form of explanation regarding students’ test scores and what they mean, other than lists of numbers throughout the years, they may want to check out a new tool.
The Georgia Department of Education (GADOE) released the Georgia Student Growth model, (GSGM), a metric for parents and educators to better understand and analyze the progress students make from year to year. A web tool was released in conjunction with the data to provide a visualization of student growth.

The web tool allows the public to drill down into student growth data by district, grade level, student group, testing system, ethnicity/race and subject areas. Parents will also receive individual student growth reports for each child. To protect student privacy, they will not have access to individual data of other students – only aggregate data, according to the Newton County School System (NCSS) and GADOE.

“The (GSGM) is an initiative that will give students, their teachers, their parents and the public a more complete and comprehensive picture of individual growth,” said State Superintendent John Barge. “In turn, teachers will be equipped to provide more complete and individualized instruction, and parents will be better prepared to help their students improve areas of weakness. As a result, learning in our public schools should improve.”

Data is based on CRCT and EOCT scores from the 2012-2013 school year, so students reflecting each grade are now two grades higher. According to GADOE, 2013-2014 data is expected in late fall.

Historically, Georgia’s assessment system only gave answers to questions like, “What percentage of student met the state standard?” or, “Did more students meet the state standard this year compared to last year?” according to GADOE.
With the GSGM, stakeholders can take a deeper look at student growth by school and school district, asking questions like, “Did students in this school grow more or less than academically similar students across the state?” or, “Are students growing as much in math as in reading?”

The GSGM will also be used in the College and Career Ready Performance Index for the Progress determination and as one of multiple indicators of educator effectiveness in the Teacher Keys Effectiveness System and Leader Keys Effectiveness System.

“Our growth data reflects that our efforts to ensure students are making progress in the core areas are indeed working,” said NCSS Superintendent Samantha Fuhrey. “The student growth results are a testament to the focus of our teachers, leaders and staff as well as the impact of their work on students’ learning. The main thing to take away from this ‘new look’ at the data is that our students continue to show academic growth and progress.”

NCSS elementary and middle schools

Student Growth Percentile (SGP) data indicates the amount of growth a student has demonstrated relative to academically similar students from across the state, with growth percentiles ranging from 1 to 99. All students, regardless of achievement level, have the opportunity to demonstrate all levels of growth.

When reviewing data, student growth numbers of 1-34 represent low growth, 35-65 represent typical growth and 66-99 indicate high growth.

The first line for each subject on the district CRCT data represents the percent of students that met or exceeded state standards, next to state scores for comparison. The second line for each subject indicates the percent of those students who showed typical or high growth over the previous year’s scores.

While eighth graders passed their reading CRCT at a higher percentage than any other grade or subject in the county (98 percent), the highest growth percentiles were marked in seventh- and eighth-grade science (76 percent).
When looking on the other end of the spectrum, SGP data indicate the lowest passing percentage on CRCTs was in sixth-grade science (73 percent), while the lowest growth percentile was found in seventh-grade math.

Seventh and eighth grades showed typical or high growth percentiles at a higher rate than the state in all subject areas except math, and every grade outpaced the state in terms of growth on the science CRCT between 2-10 percentage points.

Math continues to be students’ weak point, as NCSS students scored lower or even with on both pass rates and growth percentiles than the state in every grade.

NCSS high schools

SGPS also looked at growth in high school students on EOCT tests.

The highest pass percentage in the county was on both the 9th grade literature and composition and economics EOCTs (89 percent), both of which passed the state on pass rates and growth percentiles. Economics and U.S. history scores showed the most student growth (76 percent), also passing the state.

The lowest scores came from the coordinate algebra pass rate (21 percent) and the 56 percent of those students who showed typical or high growth. State scores for the same test were 38 percent and 65 percent, respectively.

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