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Oct 19, 2016 02:56 AM EDT

Student Growth, Not Proficiency Rates, Is The Real Measure of Effective Learning

Using proficiency rates to measure student success is not only misleading but also irresponsible according to a report. Instead, growth measures should count much more in measuring school performance under the Every Student Succeed Act or ESSA.

The report, created by the Thomas B. Fordham Institute in Ohio, used three points in their argument showing student growth is the real measure of effective learning. The arguments were based on the experience they've had in Ohio's accountability system which uses different grading systems fro growth and proficiency.

They said that basing student success on proficiency rates alone will be very unfair and inaccurate because it will label all high-poverty schools as a failure. Such ratings will demoralize educators and will hurt the reputation of the school accountability system. This could result in the state lowering its standards which can even have more serious repercussions.

Moreover, using student growth as the standard for measuring student success will make it easier to evaluate high-poverty schools on which are making progress and which are not.

Growth measures, the report said will also make those low-performing schools be more accountable and responsible. The report said that even if growth models are used to assess student success, the failure rate is still high but it won't be as high compared to using proficiency rates.

For example, the report indicated that 63 percent of urban public schools in Ohio received failing grades using the value-added measure of the state last year. Despite this, however, fewer schools will fail using this measure than when using proficiency rates.

Lastly, using a growth model for evaluation will allow schools to have better scores even if the students of color or those who belonged to the low-income ones don't really close the gap for making these students ready for college or get higher achievement scores. Realistically, however, making progress in these students does not only take a day but a consistent and steady progress is needed.


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