How do I explain the "typical growth" number that is shown on the Student Progress Report?

By rgriese on May 07, 2012

How do I explaine the "Typical Growth" number that is shown on the Student Progress Report to a parent with a student whose RIT score is at the very high end of the normative data scale?  For instance,  if I have a third grader who had a beginning of year RIT score of  215 (in the 95th percentile) and en ending score of 217 that their child should have experienced "typical growth" of 7 points.  (that's a real example and their are several more like it)  How can you tell a parent that if their child was reading at the level of a typical 5th grader at the beginning of the year (215)they "should" be reading at the level of a typical 8th grader (215+7=222) at the end of the year?  Does the "Typical Growth" number only take into effect the Child's grade and not their initial MAP score?  Any insight would be greatly appreciated. 


Richard  Volo's picture
Thanks!! Good information.

Rick Weber's picture
I think you will find this free recorded webinar on MAP growth norms and setting MAP growth goals by Dr. John Cronin helpful in addressing your questions. It is available on demand at this link: http://nwea.adobeconnect.com/p30v1noy39b/ The webinar is titled ‘Understanding Growth Projection Data’. I've also included additional information below. The new norming study changed the sampling method and used all of the available data to estimate the growth norms for students on the ends of the scale. The new estimates suggest that school age children will, when averaged over a very large nationally representative group, generally show nearly the same growth at all points of the RIT scale, all else being equal at certain grades. However in many cases, students at the same grade level will have different growth projections depending on their starting RIT. Student growth projections are individualized for each student. High ability students are being compared to other high ability students in their growth targets and vice versa for lower performing students. Growth projection targets are created by comparing the student with other students at their same grade level with the same starting RIT. For example, a high performing 7th grader with a 245 RIT in math would have a growth target based on the average growth of all 7th graders with a starting RIT of 245. The same is also true for a lower performing 7th grader with a RIT score of 195 in Math. Should we use the growth norms to create growth targets? The growth norms were never intended as growth targets, they simply represent our best estimate of the average growth of students at the various points of the RIT scale. In other words, they represent the growth of the proverbial "middle child" in the norming population. Target growth should be the growth that the student and family aspire to achieve. The growth norms can provide some parameters for discussion by helping the teacher, child, and family understand the range of growth that's typical. The new norms emphasize projected student growth, as opposed to growth targets, and you'll see this reflected in your reporting tools as well. On reports projecting growth relative to the norm group data, we've replaced "target" with "projection." The term "projected growth" more accurately reflects what the norms represent, which is the average progress made by students in the norming group. This data in itself is not sufficient to establish growth targets, but it is an important starting point: Knowing the average growth of a group of students provides useful context when setting targets because it lets you know what kind of growth would be considered typical or normal. The actionable data within the reports has not changed in any way. The growth norms were never intended as growth targets, they simply represent our best estimate of the average growth of students at the various points of the RIT scale. In other words, they represent the growth of the proverbial "middle child" in the norming population. Target growth should be the growth that the student and family aspire to achieve. The growth norms can provide some parameters for discussion by helping the teacher, child, and family understand the range of growth that's typical. Lastly, it is important to remember that scores from any test are estimates of performance. No score (from any assessment) should ever be treated as absolute. As an analogy, it would be similar to a doctor prescribing blood pressure medication based off only taking your blood pressure once. Instead of using multiple measures spread over time to determine if medication is needed be evaluating the overall pattern of scores taken over time. A test score is a slice in time and may not always be reflective of everyday performance. It's a slice in time (how the child performed on that day, under those circumstances including how they were feeling, if they might be having some test fatigue, if they are hungry, etc). Also score ranges (+/- 3) indicate the range of measurement error around a particular score (score ranges include one standard error above and below the RIT score). We would expect that if a student took the test again relatively soon, his or her score would fall within this range most of the time). Students performing within the same score range have similar instructional needs. Any time a placement decision is being made for a student, the score range rather than a single RIT score should be used to help make the determination of whether the student falls above or below established criteria. Furthermore, no less than three points of data (MAP can/should be one of those data points) should ever be used to make important decisions. I hope the above information is helpful.

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