Growth Vs Achievement
Updated: May 9, 2020
Achievement and progress are often used interchangeably, but their meanings are actually very different. Achievement is a point-in-time measure that evaluates how well students perform against a standard. In contrast, progress is measured by how much "growth" students make over time, typically from one year to the next. Both of these measures are important, but they provide different information.
The philosophy of the school room in one generation will be the philosophy of government in the next. ~ Abraham Lincoln
For years, achievement has been measured by how well students perform on state tests, either by the mastery of standards or from set grade-level expectations. Similarly, the performance of school districts and school buildings has been evaluated based on the percentage of students who pass these tests. While providing some useful evaluative and student academic information, passage rates are incomplete and, in some ways, unfair measures of teacher effectiveness. Passage rates ignore the varying achievement levels among students and within urban, rural, and suburban communities. Teachers cannot control where students are at the beginning of the year, but educators can impact the progress students make while they are in their classroom.
When achievement and progress information are used together (as shown in the graphic below), it can provide powerful insight into the impact schools and teachers have on student learning.
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