Using Student Growth Percentiles During the Assessment Transition: Technical, Practical and Political Implications
This paper highlights technical, practical, and policy considerations for using growth percentiles during the assessment transition (generally 2014 to 2015) period to support state accountability efforts, and it recommends analyses and guidelines to help inform decisions in light of these considerations. It notes that while there are similarities across different states, the challenges of incorporating growth data across any transitions will vary based upon policy requirements as well as different accountability systems and approaches. Separate groups of PARCC and Smarter Balanced states that use Student Growth Percentiles (SGPs) were convened by the CCSSO to facilitate discussions with technical advisors and state officials. While recommendations in the paper were tailored to states attending CCSSO-sponsored growth transition meetings, many of the general approaches may be useful to other states whether they are transitioning to PARCC, Smarter Balanced, or another model.
This paper provides informative content on state decisions relative to use of Student Growth Percentiles (SGPs) for various aspects of state accountability systems, PARCC, and Smarter Balanced transition timelines, implications for missing data from the initial years of Smarter Balanced implementation, and a discussion on the impact of transitioning. Various charts and tables provide visual support, which facilitates communication of the information and add to its usefulness. Some of the content is more technical, including information on percentile growth trajectories and baseline-referenced student growth percentiles as they relate to SPGs. The paper ends with six related recommendations and closes by noting that one of the biggest challenges states face as they make these transitions is “to develop a thoughtful communication strategy to help stakeholders understand anticipated changes made to growth in their existing accountability systems.”